The Thai Ministry of Public Health is planning to include other 15 provinces in the Sandbox/blue tourism zone program and proceed with treating Covid-19 as an endemic disease as planned by July 1st.
Dr. Suthep Petchmark, Inspector General from the Ministry of Public Health Region 12, revealed today, April 24th, that the number of daily infections in many southern provinces in Region 12, including Songkhla, Yala, and Pattani, were decreasing after Songkran from an average of 3,000 cases to 1,000 cases per day.
He was also informed by Dr. Kiatipoom Wongrachit, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health, that there were now 15 provinces that were interested and ready to welcome international tourists as a part of the Sandbox/Blue zone Project. But the matter must be discussed at the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) meeting first.
Dr. Suthep said: “For example, Songkhla was one of the southern provinces that was ready (for the Sandbox) because the number of people who had received the first shot of Covid-19 had reached almost 80 percent of its population and almost 30 percent received the booster dose. The prescription of Sandbox provinces would draw the participation of people in the area and nearby provinces as well because they also wanted to restart earning money for a living and be a part to help revive the domestic economy.”
He continued that in order for Covid-19 to become endemic in Thailand, the country must be considered from: 1.) The number of infections per case per 100,000 population; 2.) The number of severe cases and their provincial health/medical support; 3.) The mortality rate must be less than 0.1 percent; and 4.) at least 80 percent of the population must be vaccinated, especially among those over 60 years old.
“If no changes were made and no encounters of a new mutant variant, it was expected that the endemic disease plan could be implemented on July 1st,” he concluded.
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