Thai Health Ministry expects COVID-19 cases to increase over next two weeks

Dr Sophon Iamsirithavorn, warned that the number of COVID-19 cases in Thailand is expected to continue growing in provinces.

Bangkok – Health authorities are now expecting the number of cases in the current wave of COVID-19 infections will continue to increase over the next two weeks, asking people visiting high-risk areas to monitor their symptoms for 14 days.

Dr Sophon Iamsirithavorn, Director of the Division of Communicable Diseases at the Department of Communicable Diseases has warned that the number of COVID-19 cases in Thailand is expected to continue growing in provinces that have already reported a number of confirmed cases in this wave of the outbreak.

The new wave of COVID-19 in Thailand started with the discovery of a COVID-19 cluster in the migrant worker community in Samut Sakhon linked to a wholesale shrimp market.

The situation has since escalated with cases now reported in 56 provinces of Thailand, with new cases linked to gambling dens in some provinces, as well as nightclubs and restaurants in the Pinklao district of western Bangkok.

Dr Sophon said tougher disease control measures and social measures are needed to help contain the spread, with the goal now being to minimize fatalities from COVID-19 as much as possible, while ensuring the healthcare system has enough capacity to treat the general public.

Health officials are currently urging members of the public who have visited at-risk areas to monitor their symptoms for 14 days, and to seek medical attention at a nearby healthcare facility should they exhibit any symptoms. They are reminded to be cautious of the possibility that if infected, they could spread the virus to children and elders in their family.

The Thai government has set a target to vaccinate half the population against COVID-9. Dr Sophon said that the health authorities must first ensure the safety of each vaccine along with its efficacy, as some vaccines may have undesirable side effects that could even lead to death in some cases.

Thailand has made an advance purchase of vaccine to combat COVID-19 from AstraZeneca, with Siam Bioscience being the local manufacturing partner. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for use in the UK, but is still pending approval from Thailand’s Food and Drugs Administration.

The government earlier revealed it will also be procuring additional dosages of vaccines for Thailand, with the first batch of vaccines from China’s Sinovac expected to arrive as early as late-February. (NNT)