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Omicron less severe than Delta, top health official says citing current data


Data collected worldwide on the Covid-19 Omicron variant until December 23 indicates that it is less severe than Delta, which still makes up the majority of cases in Thailand, Public Health permanent secretary Dr Kiattiphum Wongrajit said on Thursday.

“The Omicron variant can be transmitted more quickly than Delta, but fewer Omicron patients have developed severe symptoms or died,” he said.

“Take England, for example, which has reported more than 10,000 Omicron cases with only 12 mortalities, or just 0.12 per cent.”

The Imperial College London earlier this week published a study which found that those infected by Omicron in England were 15 to 20 per cent less likely to go to an emergency room with severe symptoms and 40 per cent less likely to be hospitalised overnight, when compared with those infected by Delta.

Kiattiphum said the Public Health Ministry is confident that Thailand’s health system will be able to handle the situation if Omicron were to spread widely in the country.

“When the Delta variant hit Thailand [in May 2021] we had only a 20-30 per cent vaccination rate while there were inadequate beds available for suspect patients at field hospitals,” he noted.

“Now, more than 63 per cent of the population have received two doses of vaccination, and we have established an efficient home and community isolation system where suspect patients can safely monitor their symptoms without the risk of spreading the virus to their family members,” Kiattiphum said.

“The ministry continues to closely monitor the Omicron situation both globally and in Thailand. The Department of Disease Control has been tasked with estimating scenarios of Omicron outbreaks in Thailand while adding recent factors such as the vaccination rate,” Kiattiphum revealed.

“We expect the evaluation of scenarios to be completed by December 27, when it will be presented at a ministry press conference,” he added.

Published : December 23, 2021

By : THE NATION