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Pressure Builds on Thai Government to Fully Reopen Despite Covid-19

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Pressure Build on Thai Government to Fully Reopen Despite Covid-19

Despite lingering fears about a spike in Covid-19 cases following the Songkran festival, experts say the government has no choice but to reopen the country fully.

According to Abhisit Vejjajiva, the government is under tremendous pressure to restore the pandemic-damaged economy.

He said the government has no choice but to restore normalcy as quickly as possible as most other nations are doing.

It has been predicted that the pandemic will soon become an endemic as cases and deaths decline. Mr. Abhisit said he was concerned the post-Songkran festival numbers would stay high.

Getting people vaccinated in a systematic manner should be the authorities’ top priority, he said.

Studies show that fewer than 30% of people 60 years and older have received booster shots. According to Mr. Abhisit, governments should use the vaccination data available via the Mor Prom app to design vaccination campaigns and provide vaccines to high-risk groups in their communities.

Examine the Covid-19 hospitalization figures

Furthermore, he said, the government should examine the Covid-19 hospitalization figures by explaining how many patients suffered lung infections and required life support, as well as their vaccination status and age.

Thus, it would be important to obtain the first and second booster shots.

In addition to easing Covid restrictions, Mr. Abhisit warned people not to let down their guard.

In order to create a healthy and safe environment, it is necessary to define the term “new normal” through measures such as banning unvaccinated people from certain public spaces, including restaurants.

If the pandemic is to end, he said, the cycle of infections has to be broken.

This year’s Songkran is looking a lot better this year than last, he said, with more relaxed anti-Covid restrictions.

According to the former premier, the government must mitigate the economic damage caused by two years of the pandemic, which has resulted in a rise in household debt and businesses struggling to stay afloat.

As a result, many small and medium-sized businesses are at risk of going under or being taken over by larger firms.

The government pressured to reopen Thailand

Mr. Abhisit suggests creating a state fund to restructure the debts of the affected businesses and recapitalize them.

Thiravat Hemachudha, dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Chulalongkorn University’s Centre for Emerging Health Sciences, agreed that economic pressures are driving the government to reopen the country’s borders.

According to Dr. Thiravat, rampant infections make it easier for new strains of the virus to develop.

The study shows that immunity acquired from natural infections, whether from Delta or Omicron strains, does not provide protection against new strains,” he said. He explained that it takes time for the body to develop immunity to new strains and resistance to them.

Dr. Thiravat said vaccines can help prevent deaths and hospitalizations, but they do little for keeping people from spreading viruses.

Those in their 60s and older, as well as those with underlying illnesses, are at the greatest risk, according to Dr. Thiravat.

Despite getting a booster shot, older people may not develop as much immunity as those who are younger. Some patients were hesitant to receive vaccines or booster jabs due to concerns about side effects.

Less Covid-19 vaccine per injection

In an earlier post, Dr. Thiravat recommended the vaccine be administered intradermally instead of intramuscularly. In a study, intradermal jabs proved to cause fewer side effects.

This is why they are now available at the vaccination center in Bang Sue Grand Station as well as at several hospitals.

He said intradermal vaccinations, which also use less vaccine per injection, would help ease concerns among the elderly and convince them to get vaccinations.

People returning from the Songkran festival with Covid-19 should have equal and unrestricted access to medicine, Dr. Thiravat said.

He advised those with Covid-19 to take the fah talai Jon (kariyat) remedy immediately after discovering they had contracted covid-19 and to take it for five days before switching to the antiviral favipiravir. He said fah talai jon eased the symptoms.

Deputy permanent secretary for the interior Chaiwat Chuenkosum says it is highly probable that the country will reopen after Songkran because measures have been devised and people have cooperated well in efforts to contain the virus.

Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) must assess the number of cases, the rate of hospitalization, and the number of deaths after the festival concludes, he said.

Undergo ATK testing

According to the Interior Ministry, provincial governors have been instructed to introduce measures such as requiring Songkran visitors to undergo Covid-19 ATK testing and vaccination before reuniting with their families.

Their relatives waiting in the provinces should also undergo the ATK test and be inoculated after they return from the holidays.

According to Mr. Chaiwat, guidelines for organizing Songkran activities nationwide in a Covid-safe environment include basic health screenings at public events, social distancing practices such as no more than four people per square meter, and the wearing of face masks at all times.

Activities that require people to wear masks, such as water throwing and foam parties, are prohibited.

The communicable disease control office in each province strictly supervises large-scale events. The government has granted permission for 5,000 large Songkran celebrations to take place across the country.

During the celebrations, alcohol consumption and sales are prohibited.

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