CCSA retains Covid-19 measures, province classifications
Despite rising cases of Covid-19, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration on Friday made no changes to the classification of provinces based on the seriousness of the Covid situation and retained measures to fight the pandemic.
Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha chaired the CCSA meeting at Government House on Friday morning amid two opposing speculations. Initially, it was speculated that the CCSA would further ease restrictions but after new daily cases rose past the 10,000 mark, it was speculated the CCSA would tighten the measures and redraw the Covid-19 situation map.
But CCSA spokesman Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin told a press conference after the meeting that the CCSA did not redraw the Covid-19 situation map of the country.
This means 44 provinces will remain under the Covid-19 classification as orange zone and 24 provinces as extremely-monitored, or yellow zone. Eight provinces remain classified as tourism-pilot provinces, or green zone.
The spokesman said the CCSA retained the current measures for prevention and controlling the spread of the virus with confidence that the measures would help prevent the virus from spreading.
The Public Health Ministry on Friday reported 15,242 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 over a 24-hour period.
Taweesilp said the CCSA was confident that the country has enough hospital beds and medicines for treating people with severe Covid-19 symptoms.
Currently, Covid-19 patients are using only 40 per cent of available hospital beds and those in intensive care units are using only 12 per cent of ICU beds.
“Hospitals still have the capability to treat Covid-19 patients with severe conditions, so the meeting resolved to retain the classification of the provinces and to retain the current disease control measures,” Taweesilp said.
He said the CCSA also supported the Public Health Ministry’s plan to speed up vaccination of students and administering of booster doses to elderly people and people with eight co-morbidities.
The CCSA said it believes that speeding-up vaccinations will ensure the current public health system will be able to care for people with severe symptoms, as their numbers may increase following higher rates of new infections.
The CCSA also approved the National Health Security Office’s proposal to reduce the cost of Covid-19 tests from March 1. The NHSO proposed to cut the price of antigen test kits from Bt80 to Bt55 per kit and to reduce the rapid antigen test cost by government agencies from Bt300 to Bt250. The NHSO also asked for the reduction of RT-PCR test costs by government agencies from Bt1,200 to Bt900.
Regarding tourism promotion, the CCSA approved the Air Travel Bubble deal between Thailand and India.
Under the deal, airlines of the two countries must make sure that their passengers are Covid-free before they issue them air tickets.
On the success of the Test & Go scheme, Taweesilp said the number of tourists had increase five times in the two months since the launch of the scheme. During the four months before Test & Go was adopted, 65,000 tourists entered the country but the number increased to 320,000 during the last two months.
He said that after the Test & Go scheme was resumed at the beginning of February, the number of tourist arrivals was 32,000 in less than 10 days.
Taweesilp said the CCSA was confident that the Test & Go scheme would be effective enough to prevent the spread of the virus.