Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health today, July 8th, has proposed to the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) five strict preventive measures, including a restriction from domestic travel, for 14 days in Bangkok. The measures would also likely take effect in nearby provinces as well as possibly provinces in the deep South, according to the Ministry.
First, TPN would like to note all of these are proposals and will be discussed at an emergency meeting with the CCSA tomorrow morning, July 9th, that we previously covered here. We advise our readers to keep in mind that just because something is proposed does not mean it will be implemented and would need several levels of approval before doing so. We will cover any announcements from the meeting here at TPN media. It is also unknown if Chonburi would be included in the measures and it was not discussed.
Dr. Kiatiphum Wongrachit, permanent secretary for the Ministry of Public Health, told the Associated Press that Bangkok’s Emergency Operation Center (EOC) for COVID-19 has agreed, in principle, to propose social measures to contain the number of infections in the capital.
The regulations proposed would be similar to multiple preventive measures once implemented in April 2020. One of them includes a restriction to leave residential areas for 14 days, except for food purchases, doctor’s visits, and vaccinations. Despite the fact that the measures were last year, at that time, called a “lockdown”, the authorities claimed that the current proposals are not a lockdown and are rather to limit unnecessary traveling within the city and across the provinces. They have stressed to the public not to call the proposals or measures a lockdown.
The other measures proposed also include the acceleration of vaccination among 80 percent of the elderly over 60 years old and people with underlying health conditions, the emphasizing of individual health measures and Work From Home and, Home Isolation (HI) and Community Isolation (CI) implementation in Covid-19 infected patients with mild symptoms (essentially ending the requirement that ANYONE positive for Covid-19 must go to a hospital or similar facility, regardless if they are asymptomatic or not), and the use of Rapid Antigen Tests to detect infections instead of the RT-PCR test.
The Rapid Antigen Test, according to the permanent secretary, will detect the presence of viral proteins, called Antigens, expressed by the Covid-19 virus in a sample from the respiratory tract of a person. The result will be disclosed typically within 30 minutes, faster than the RT-PCR which must be examined at a laboratory and takes a longer time for accurate results.
“The Rapid Antigen Test may be primarily introduced at hospitals and their medical institutions only as the procedure must be assisted by doctors and medical personnel. If a person’s result is negative, they can go home. However, if the result is positive, they must test via RT-PCR for accuracy. And if the result remains positive, they must immediately send for medical treatment and be categorized by green (asymptomatic to mild symptoms), yellow (moderate symptoms or history of underlying conditions), and red (severe symptoms) patient groups,” Dr. Kiatiphum added.
As stated, a meeting to discuss further potential restrictions and measures is scheduled for tomorrow morning. TPN notes that major measures would also need Thai Cabinet approval, which generally meets every Tuesday, so it “could” be several days for certain measures to be implemented or take place.
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