MONDAY, February 26, 2024

Omicron spread in Thailand expected to accelerate later this month: CU doctor

Omicron spread in Thailand expected to accelerate later this month: CU doctor

A respected epidemiologist at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Medicine warned on Wednesday that the spread of the highly infectious Covid-19 Omicron variant will accelerate in Thailand in the second half of this month.

Doctor Thira Woratanarat issued the warning on his Facebook page, saying the country may not be able to cope with the spread in terms of detecting newly infected people in time.

Thira said the outbreaks of Omicron in other countries showed that new infections occurred swiftly, prompting a curving line of new cases to become nearly vertical in a short period.

Taking into account the trend in other countries, he believes the spread of Omicron will accelerate after the middle of January.

The acceleration of new cases could lead to shortage of rapid antigen test kits (ATK) while laboratory tests using the RT-PCR method will also not be able to cope with fast-spreading new infections.

“This will affect how people lead their lives and how they take care of themselves,” Thira said in his post.

“The virus will spread much faster because people will not know if they have been infected or not,” he warned.

Thira said the government must rush to help by controlling the prices of ATK kits and considering distributing free kits to all families.

The doctor advised everyone to wear two face masks and avoid crammed and poorly ventilated areas to minimise the chance of catching the virus.

He cited World Health Organisation (WHO) figures to show the worsening situation. He said WHO’s weekly epidemiological update on Tuesday showed that the number of new Covid-19 cases around the world increased by 55 per cent while the death rate rose by 3 per cent compared to the previous week.

He said sequences posted on the GISAID site showed that Omicron now accounted for 58.5 per cent of cases, while the Delta variant dropped to 41.4 per cent.