Tuesday, September 21, 2021

in-focus

Covid-19 strain in Myanmar spreads 20% faster, says Mahidol University dean


Prof Dr Prasit Watanapa, dean of Mahidol University’s Faculty of Medicine, said on Tuesday that Covid-19 has spread a lot faster in Myanmar because there are no effective measures in place to track people and the virus strain is different.

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He said the virus has spread 200-times faster across the country because the movement of less than 50 per cent of people travelling from affected areas has been tracked.
He also said the strain of the virus present in Myanmar is very different from the D614 strain from Wuhan, the Chinese city where the virus was first detected. The G614 strain, which is infecting people in the West, has also been spreading in Myanmar since the first case was detected in the country on March 23. This strain can multiply 20 per cent faster than the original one.
“Thais returning from Myanmar and refusing to enter mandatory controls or concealing their information is dangerous not just to themselves, but also their families, society and medical personnel. This shows that one weak point can have a huge impact on the country and a negative effect on society. Hence, I’m calling for people to cooperate and be on guard. We can boost our immunity against the virus by wearing a mask, keeping our hands clean and maintaining distance,” he said.
Prasit said cooler weather, a rise in the number of infections in neighbouring countries like Myanmar and Malaysia as well as public gatherings are causes of concern and hospitals should prepare for an increase in infections.
Thailand has signed an agreement with AstraZeneca for the purchase of 26 million doses as well as support for local production. The AstraZeneca vaccine, which has so far proved to be 90 per cent effective, needs to be tested three times by the Thai Food and Drug Administration which will take about one month. Then it will take another four months to produce the vaccines, which means the first vaccination can be expected after May next year.

Published : December 08, 2020