By The Nation
The Public Health Ministry warned that a possible second wave of Covid-19 could be mightier than the first due to public carelessness and a change from hot to rainy season.
The situation in Thailand is now considered controllable as more than 50 per cent of provinces haven't reported a new case in the last 28 days, which allowed the government to relax a temporary ban on six business and activities.
However, thousands of people have travelled to other provinces since the lockdown was eased.
This has led to concern at the Department of Disease Control that Covid-19 infections might double in two weeks.
Bureau of General Communicable Diseases director Dr Sopon Iamsirithaworn said the chances of infection can spread again as more people meet, while activities such as eating in group or drinking alcohol can all increase the risk.
There’s also concern that a second wave could be mightier than the first.
When the Spanish flu epidemic struck the world in 1918, most countries coped well during the first wave. But in some countries, the second wave was much more severe as people there were less aware about disease prevention.
Experts from the World Health Organisation and in Thailand have suggested that the country cannot underestimate the possibility of a second wave of Covid-19 returning.
The most important things to maintain are keeping a safe distance to other people, wearing masks, frequently washing one’s hands, and avoid touching your face, eyes or mouth.
4 warning signs
The Public Health Ministry is closely monitoring the situation and looking for these warning signs that may signal a second outbreak:
1. All respiratory illnesses must be investigated/inspected immediately to find the cause of the disease.
2. Monitoring the percentage of people diagnosed with Covid-19.
3. Monitoring the behaviour of people to see that they are strictly abiding by rules on self-protection such as wearing masks, constantly washing their hands, and keeping a safe distance from others when entering a community or using public services.
4. Closely watching the number of patients that could increase in the next few weeks.
“Taking personal safety precautions will help reduce the risk of a second outbreak,” Sopon advised.
Thailand currently stands between the first wave and the second wave not only due to public carelessness but also the upcoming rainy reason. During this reason, a number of patients suffering from respiratory disorders normally enter hospitals, but these cases could initially confuse doctors as to whether they are Covid-19 related or not.
Yala province, for example, found 40 cases which were thought to be Covid-19 related, but after a second test, these cases came back negative.
The Public Health Ministry has ordered that all Covid-19 test samples be sent to the Department of Medical Science to ensure accurate and faster results.