On Friday (Dec 24), Christmas eve, Thailand reported its first domestic cluster of the Omicron variant in northeastern Thailand.
Covid-19 task force spokesman Apisamai Srirangsan said there were 21 new infections from the Kalasin cluster in northeastern Thailand’s Kalasin Province.
The Omicron cluster was caused by a Thai couple who returned from Belgium under Thailand’s Test and Go program. The now-suspended program waived quarantine for vaccinated travellers entering Thailand from low-risk countries.
Both had tested negative for infection before travelling to Thailand in early December.
“By December 15, they started having flu-like symptoms and went to the hospital for covid-19 testing. Both were diagnosed with the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
The announcement comes days after Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand, cancelled government-sponsored events, including midnight prayers. The private sector is still planning fireworks and countdown events however, New Year’s revellers will need to provide proof of vaccination and antigen test results.
In addition, the Health Ministry said it would introduce a fourth booster dose for medical personnel.
As of Christmas Eve (Dec 24), Thailand has recorded 205 covid-19 infections from the Omicron variant, mostly in foreigners. Twenty-five of those individuals were infected by illegal migrants.
A senior health official said other clusters are being investigated in the country’s south.
On Monday, Thailand reported the first local transmission of the Omicron variant, which led to the reintroduction of mandatory quarantine for international arrivals.
Phuket is still allowed to operate the sandbox program in which tourists must stay on the island for seven days before leaving.
To slow the spread of the Omicron variant, people need to take as many protective measures as they can, said Dr Supakit.