The Public Health Ministry stressed that the recent discovery of COVID-19 cases of the Alpha Plus variant, and Delta Plus variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus will not deter Thailand from reopening to international tourists on Nov 1.
Sathit Pitutecha, Deputy Public Health Minister, said the Delta Plus variant is considered a minor variant of the virus, noting that viruses mutate all the time. He affirmed that the recent discovery will not affect Thailand’s reopening plan and that only a mutation that causes severe illness and makes the virus spread easier or become resistant to drugs that treat the Alpha and Delta variants [of SARS-CoV-2] is considered significant.
According to Dr. Supakit Sirilak, Director-General of the Department of Medical Sciences (DMS), the Delta Plus variant found in Thailand (AY.1 lineage) is not the same as the one found in the UK (AY.4.2). He said, however, that the patient who contracted the AY.1 mutation in Thailand is reported to have fully recovered from the disease. A further investigation is underway to find if any of the patient’s close contacts were infected.
From Nov 1, Thailand will begin welcoming fully vaccinated visitors from 45 low-risk countries and one special administrative region without entering into quarantine. However, visitors need to provide a negative test for COVID-19 before traveling and take a COVID-19 test on arrival and wait in an approved hotel for the results. After they have been cleared, they will be allowed to travel freely in the country. (NNT)