Ministry downplays Covid spike as virologist issues mask warning


The Public Health Ministry downplayed concern over the spike in Covid-19 cases and deaths on Friday, saying infections would begin falling after New Year.

Confirmed infections in the week ending November 19 rose 25% from the previous week to 3,957 or an average of 565 per day, the Department of Disease Control (DDC)’s latest report showed. The death toll also rose to 69, up from 40 in the previous week.

“The recent rise in confirmed cases is within our estimates for a ‘small wave’ at year-end,” said DDC director-general Dr Opas Karnkawinpong.

Most new cases have mild or no symptoms and can be treated as outpatients, he said. The occupation rate of hospital beds has not risen significantly, he added.

The DDC expects more people to get Covid-19 jabs in the coming weeks amid concern over rising infection rates. It has asked provincial public health offices and hospitals to increase staff levels and notify the public of vaccination schedules to prevent crowding.

Opas said the Public Health Ministry has also deployed mobile vaccination units to reach people in remote areas, especially the elderly, those with chronic diseases and pregnant women.

Ministry downplays Covid spike as virologist issues mask warning

Dr Yong Poovorawan, a Chulalongkorn University virologist, warned on Friday that the current Covid-19 strains have evolved to spread more easily.

“Now that most [disease] restrictions have been lifted, it will be even harder to evade this virus,” he said in a Facebook post.

“To stay safe from Covid-19, we should exercise regularly for strength, get adequate rest and eat hot, clean and nutritious meals.”

Yong advised everyone to get at least three jabs plus a booster every six months to maintain their immunity.

He also warned people not to stop wearing face masks and advised them to avoid crowded areas, and isolate for five days if they display symptoms or test positive.