Earlier on Friday, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration had revealed that the variant of the virus was found among 15 infected workers at the camp, which has become a cluster after 1,060 of the 1,667 workers living there tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday.
“The Department of Medical Science tested 80 positive samples from workers and people living in nearby areas and found that 36 of them had the strain B.1.617.2, first seen in India, while the rest are B.1.1.7, first seen in the UK,” said Dr Supphakit Siriluck, the department's director-general.
“Currently about 87 per cent of the virus found in Thailand are of the strain that first emerged in the UK, while the variant that emerged in India has been discovered only recently.
The department will further investigate samples from other clusters to analyse the spreading pattern of each variant,” he added.
Public Health England revealed that the variant of Covid-19 found in India could spread as fast as the strain found in the UK, but there was no evidence of more severe symptoms or increase in death rate.
“Furthermore, the strain that emerged in India is still responding to the vaccine, therefore the public should not panic over its discovery in Thailand,” added Supphakit.
He said the department had been testing up to 384 samples of Covid-19 per week by means of whole genome sequencing, which is higher than the WHO's 150 samples per week to study the virus situation in each country and to watch out for the variants of concern which include the ones from UK, India, South Africa and Brazil.
Published : May 22, 2021
By : THE NATION