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Second wave of infections may not be so bad if everyone cooperates: expert

Jun 11. 2020
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By The Na

A respiratory diseases expert believes that Thailand may be able to avoid a second wave of Covid-19 infections if people do not let their guard down.

Dr Manoon Leechawengwongs, a respiratory diseases expert based in Bangkok’s Vichaiyut Hospital, said on Thursday (June 11) that Thailand has had an exceptionally low fatality rate, with only 58 deaths, seven of whom were foreigners.

The virus has only claimed lives at a ratio of 0.08 to 100,000 people in Thailand, compared to 0.33 in China and 0.72 in Japan. Thailand’s ratio is even lower when compared to 33.56 in the US, 43.51 in France and 60.95 in the United Kingdom.

Also, compared to countries in Europe or in the Americas, the virus has claimed fewer lives in Asian countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia and Thailand.

Scientists, meanwhile, are working on finding out why the number of Covid-related deaths in Asia is so low, with many believing that this may be due to many factors such as genetic differences, ethnicity or immunity. Also, experts say, Asians may have been affected by a weaker version of the virus because the infection has not been too severe among many elderly patients or those who have chronic conditions. They also believe this version of the virus does not spread so easily.

The lower number of deaths can also be put down to cultural differences, such as people not holding hands or kissing each other in greeting. Public cooperation in wearing masks, washing hands frequently and maintaining social distancing may have a hand, as well as the hot weather, humidity, better public health system and the devotion of doctors and nurses may also have played a part.

Thailand learned from its mistake, when it allowed a large number of people to gather in a boxing stadium, Dr Manoon said, adding that now Covid-19 tests have become faster and the country is better prepared to handle the outbreak.

“We have not had a local infection for 16 consecutive days now. However, after the government eases some measures, people should keep their guard, because if there is a second wave of the outbreak, we will have the strength to deal with it,” the expert said.

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