Thailand ready to tackle new Covid-19 variant, says deputy PM
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently held an urgent meeting to discuss the new Covid-19 variant that has surfaced in South Africa and to find ways of stopping it from spreading to other countries.
Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow said the government was monitoring the situation but is not too worried because so far only 22 people have been found infected by this variant.
However, he said, all public health measures, ranging from vaccination and medicines to medical equipment, are being prepared to deal with new infections.
Supattanapong also said Thailand could ask for the remaining batches of Covid-19 vaccines to be adjusted to fight the new variant.
He also called on the public to observe all Covid-19 prevention measures, as that is the only way Thailand can avoid another outbreak.
Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha said the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has called on the authorities to especially monitor visitors from South Africa.
Arrivals from South Africa can stay in sandbox areas and will not have to be quarantined.
The B.1.1.529 variant, named Omicron, was first reported to the WHO from South Africa on November 24 and has since been spotted in Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong and Israel.
Preliminary evidence suggests the new variant is far more transmissible and can cause severe symptoms.