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Thais now see WHO as unreliable source of information: medical specialist

Jun 16. 2020
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By The Nation

After the Covid-19 pandemic, Thais now view the World Health Organisation (WHO) as an unreliable source on health issues, Dr Manoon Leechawengwongs, a specialist at Bangkok’s Vichaiyut Hospital, said.

He pointed out that WHO is quite slow in providing information and when they inform the public on certain issues, these tend to change constantly. The organisation previously caused Thais to panic about PM2.5 dust particles using the United States as a standard, Manoon said.

On June 9, WHO said Covid-19 asymptomatic infections rarely spread the virus, but two days later, medical professionals in several countries countered the statement and WHO was forced to change it.

Manoon also said that Thais have done the right thing by wearing face masks – even before WHO saw it as an important means to prevent the coronavirus from spreading and made an announcement to that effect.

He said 18 years in the US taught him that most doctors from many institutions such as the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention have their own measures to deal with public health issues since WHO’s advice and suggestions usually worked for developing countries which have standards that are different from those of developed countries.

Regarding PM2.5 dust particles, WHO’s healthy standard is 25 μg/m3, but even the US could not follow that since the country’s annual PM2.5 level is 35 μg/m3, while Thailand has sets its own standard at 50 μg/m3 a year, he said.

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