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Thailand Reports Decline in Covid-19 Cases Despite Increased Tourism



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Health officials in Thailand report the despite an increase in foreign visitors to the Kingdom, the number of Covid-19 cases have actually declined. From January 1 to 21, 1,342,365 people entered Thailand.

Foreign visitors made up 914,746 of those entering the Kingdom. The majority of visitors came from Russia, Malaysia, Korea, India, and Laos, in that order.

The number of tourists has increased since the country relaxed its immigration policies, particularly after China allowed its citizens to travel freely abroad.

According to the health department, there were 627 hospitalizations in Thailand last week, with 44 deaths, down from the previous week, which saw 969 new Covid cases and 65 deaths.

From January 8 to 21, eight foreigners were reported to have brought the disease into the country, according to the health department.

The majority of cases (three) originated in China, with the remainder coming from Myanmar, Cambodia, Korea, Japan, and the United Kingdom (one case each).

According to the Department of Medical Sciences, the dominant sub-variant of the Omicron strain is BA.2.75, with an 86% prevalence, and another is the domestic sub-variant. The government encourages people to get vaccinated because the country must strike a balance between the economy and disease control.

Dr. Manoon Leechawengwongs, a pulmonologist at Vichaiyut Hospital, stated that the newly imported XBB.1.5 strain could spark a new outbreak. According to Dr. Manoon, the XBB.1.5 sub-variant was discovered in India in August and was created by combining the BA.2.10.1 sub-variant with the BA.2.75 sub-variant.

This sub-variant spreads more easily and avoids antibodies better, but it is less severe, especially in people who have been vaccinated or have previously been exposed to the virus.

Sever Air Pollution Warning Issued for Northern Thailand

Health Department Warn Over Air Quality

Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt stated that City Hall employs strict disease control measures when dealing with foreign visitors. Visitors who test positive for the virus via antigen tests are quarantined immediately at City Hall hospitals, he said.

The governor stated that the disease situation in Bangkok is not critical, as the city has only detected about 100 Covid cases per day.

Meanwhile, the Public Health Ministry warns of a drop in Bangkok air quality next week and urges people, particularly vulnerable groups, to increase their protection against harmful ultra-fine dust particles.

Dr. Ekachai Piansriwatchara, deputy director-general of the Department of Health, stated on Friday that due to weak winds, the level of PM2.5 dust pollutants is expected to rise on Saturday and again on Tuesday and Wednesday.

People are encouraged to monitor air quality, and if dust pollution levels exceed 75 microgrammes per cubic metre (g/m3), it will have an impact on health, according to him.

In Thailand, the “safe” level of PM 2.5 dust is no more than 50 microgrammes per cubic meter.

The ministry’s concern, according to Dr. Ekachai, was sparked by an increase in the number of patients suffering from respiratory illnesses and skin and eye irritations in the first three weeks of this month, compared to December.

Severe symptoms, such as chest pain, difficulty breathing, and fatigue, were rarely reported, he added.

The Pollution Control Department (PCD) chief, Pinsak Suraswadi, confirmed that air quality in central Bangkok, northern and southern Thon Buri, is expected to deteriorate from February 1 to 3.

He advised people to avoid running their cars and burning crop residues, and to wear face masks if dust pollution levels exceed the safe level.

On Friday, PM2.5 ultrafine dust particle levels in Bangkok and surrounding provinces were high in 59 areas, according to the PCD.

Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt said that more than 30 businesses had responded to City Hall’s request to allow their employees to work from home on Thursday and Friday to reduce their exposure to pollutants.


China Airlines Launches Direct Flights from Chiang Mai to Taiwan and Thailand

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