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Thailand Records a Spike in Covid-19 Cases as Tourism Rebounds

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Thailand has reported an increase in serious Covid-19 cases and deaths, just as the country is experiencing a rebound in foreign tourist arrivals

Thailand has reported an increase in serious Covid-19 cases and deaths, just as the country is experiencing a rebound in foreign tourist arrivals, which is expected to continue into the high season.

The Health Ministry reported on Monday that an average of 702 Covid patients were hospitalized per day in the week ending November 26, nearly doubling the number from the beginning of the month. It said 74 people died during the period, up from 40 in the week ended November 5.

According to the ministry, the increase in Covid-19 infections is due to the winter season and increased public activities, particularly in Bangkok and popular tourist destinations in the eastern and southern regions. While authorities have not warned of any reintroduction of mobility restrictions, the increase in cases may deter some foreign visitors.

With the elderly and those with chronic diseases being the most at risk, officials urged people to get booster vaccination shots every four months and those who had not been vaccinated to get them as soon as possible.

The government is expanding Covid-19 vaccination sites in Bangkok and other tourist destinations to boost immunity ahead of the New Year’s celebrations, according to Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong, from the Department of Disease Control.

Thailand has gradually increased foreign tourist arrivals since lifting all pandemic-era travel restrictions in July. According to the government, more than 10 million tourists are expected to visit the country this year, with the number expected to double next year.

covid-19 thailand

Covid-19 as infections spike

Health officials are warning people to look for Covid-19 as infections spike, and new strains proliferate amid crowds and an influx of foreign visitors.

The number of Covid-19 inpatients has increased, according to Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong, permanent secretary for public health, but most of them have mild symptoms. He also stated that the number of fatalities was increasing, even though the average number of daily covid-19 deaths was still 10 or less.

“We expect a growing number of small waves to fall gradually in the New Year,” Dr. Opas predicted.

Because of the rising Covid-19 count, more people are seeking vaccinations, and he has directed hospitals across the country to provide vaccines to walk-ins and those with appointments.

Covid-19 cases were increasing again, according to Dr. Chakrarat Pitayawong-anont, of the epidemiology department at the Department of Disease Control, because people were resuming daily activities and many had not been immunized recently.

“To avoid severe illness, people who were vaccinated or infected more than 3 months ago should get a booster shot. They should also reduce the risks associated with activities such as meal sharing… particularly with elderly family members,” he stated.

Remdesivir or Paxlovid injections

Remdesivir or Paxlovid

Elderly people who have Covid-19 or have not been vaccinated in the last 3 months should see a doctor right away to receive remdesivir or Paxlovid injections, as oral medications alone may not be effective for them, according to Dr. Chakarat.

“People should protect themselves during the long holiday season in December by wearing face masks in highly populated places and avoiding high risk activities,” he said.

According to the Thai News Agency, Dr. Supakit Sirilak, from the Department of Medical Sciences, said the BA.2.75 sub-variant of Covid-19 was responsible for 58% of new cases was exacerbated by an increase in visitors from India.

He predicted that as more Europeans arrive in the coming months to escape their harsh winters, cases of the XBB sub-type will rise.

Dr. Supakit also stated that the disease was mutating to avoid antibodies and thus spreading faster around the world. Previous cases may become ill again, and vaccines may no longer be as effective in protecting recipients as they once were.

He said that people need at least four vaccine jabs under current circumstances, not three as previously advised.

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