Thailand’s Covid-19 numbers drop in first week of 2023
Thailand’s Covid-19 situation appears to have improved with the number of hospitalisations during the first week of this year falling by half from the previous week.
Dr Tares Krassanairawiwong, director-general of the Department of Disease Control (DDC), said on Tuesday that 997 Covid patients had been hospitalised in the first week of January, averaging at about 142 per day. He said this was half the daily average compared to the last week of 2022, without elaborating.
As of press time, 382 Covid patients were in hospital for lung infections, while 242 of them were on ventilators. However, Tares said the number of lung infections and patients requiring ventilators has dropped by 28% and 30% respectively compared to the previous week.
In the first week of this year, 58 patients succumbed to Covid, averaging eight deaths per day.
All the deaths barring one were of people from the 608 group – 60 or older and those with any of the eight comorbidities.
Of the 58, 32 had received either one dose of Covid vaccine or had not been vaccinated at all, 16 did not get booster shots, while 10 had received a booster more than three months ago.
He said none of the people who had received a booster shot less than three months ago had died.
“Hence, the Public Health Ministry is encouraging people to receive at least four jabs, especially those in the vulnerable group,” he said.
Sopon Iamsirithaworn, DDC’s deputy director-general, said more than 149 million doses of Covid vaccines have been administered in Thailand.
Of them, 57 million were first doses covering 82.7% of the population, 54 million second doses covering 77.7% of the population, 27 million third doses and 6 million fourth doses. The remaining doses were used for the fifth and sixth doses.
He added that the Food and Drug Administration has extended the expiry date of Pfizer vaccines from nine months to 15 months.
The Public Health Ministry is also offering AstraZeneca vaccines for people reluctant to take mRNA vaccines, Sopon added. Both types of vaccines are available at public hospitals and clinics.