Songkran parties likely to double or triple Covid cases, expert warns
A medical expert on Thursday warned that Thailand’s Covid-19 cases would likely double or triple after the long Songkran holidays due to parties at many entertainment venues, in a repeat of last year’s events.
Assoc Professor Thira Woratanarat, from Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Medicine, wrote in a Facebook post that media reports showed many restaurants-cum-entertainment venues had failed to follow Covid safety measures, as their customers were seen partying, drinking and firing water guns in crowded places.
“You will have to throw away your [medical] textbooks if such things lead to no outbreak. They have all the contributing factors — crowdedness, closeness, poor ventilation, sharing of objects, and long duration,” he wrote.
Dr Thira noted that the number of daily Covid-19 cases had increased two to three times after the long Songkran holidays last year, and he expected a similar situation this year.
“The impact didn’t stop there. The number doubled again a month later,” he added.
He noted that Thailand on Wednesday was ranked seventh in the world and third in Asia for the number of people reporting Covid-positive after antigen self-testing.
Also on Wednesday, he added, Thailand’s Covid death casualties were No. 9 in the world, making up of 15.4 per cent of all reported deaths in Asia.
Thira blamed the spike in Covid cases on a widespread perception that the currently dominant Omicron variant is mild and controllable following the Public Health Ministry’s attempt to lower Covid from a pandemic to an endemic.
He warned that even after they were cured, Covid patients risked long-term impacts of the Long Covid effect to their health and everyday life.
“They could get chronic diseases that could inflict huge financial burden on the patients, their families and the country in the long term,” the medical expert said.