Covid-19 infections rising after New Year holidays: Anutin


The number of new Covid-19 infections has been on the rise after the New Year break, but the death toll has not significantly increased, in line with current scientific data showing the Omicron variant is not as severe as Delta despite being more transmissible, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Wednesday.

The past 24 hours have seen 5,775 new patients, while 11 people have died, the Public Health Ministry reported on Thursday morning.

“The ministry will remain vigilant over the Omicron situation,” Anutin vowed.

“The Department of Disease Control is considering bringing back some preventive measures and postponing the easing of certain restrictions,” he said.

Anutin said that before the New Year holidays, the government allowed pubs and bars to reopen as restaurants so they could serve customers during the holidays, but these establishments ended up operating the same way as they used to [such as not implementing the social distancing measure and not strictly abiding by the rule on the number of hours allowed for serving alcohol].

“These bars/restaurants could be the source of new cluster cases, and the government has ordered responsible agencies to monitor and regulate them closely,” he said.

Anutin also said Thailand had recorded the highest infections of around 28,000 patients per day in 2021, which was a hard time for Thais.

“However, the current situation is much better, as about 70 per cent of Thais have been vaccinated, while around 8 million to 9 million people have already received booster shots,” he said, adding: “I believe the Covid-19 situation this year will be significantly improved than the previous year.”