Sat, October 23, 2021

in-focus

Postpone countrys reopening to November 1, Siriraj Hospital prof advises


Thailand is not ready to reopen the country on October 1 as the Covid-19 vaccination rate has not yet reached a safe level, Prof Dr Prasit Watanapa, Siriraj Hospital’s dean of the Faculty of Medicine, said on Wednesday, suggesting that the reopening be postponed to November 1.

Prasit said his main concern was that another new virus variant could possibly emerge at any time, making current vaccines ineffective.

Compared with other countries, it would be too quick if Thailand were to reopen on October 1, he said, as the vaccination rate should first exceed 70 per cent of the population.

Only 38 per cent of the country has been vaccinated so far with a first dose and just 18 per cent have received the second dose, the dean pointed out.

“The government should wait for one more month to ensure that the country is ready to reopen for tourists. We have learnt from the Phuket Sandbox programme that people who have been fully vaccinated can still get infected and spread the disease. I also strongly suggest not to lift quarantine measures in the meantime,” Prasit said.

“Medical personnel will also be required to continue their duties after this long period of hard work. If there was another outbreak, patient beds would be inadequate, and we have to avoid that,” he warned.

“Whoever makes the decision will need to be responsible for it. My only hope for now is that there would be no further virus mutations which could affect vaccine efficiency,” he added.

Published : September 16, 2021