Thai health ministry urges vaccination amid the rise in cases of omicron variant after New Year holidays
The number of cases of the highly contagious Omicron variant coronavirus in Thailand more than doubled over the New Year holiday period, the Bangkok Post reported, citing a statement from the Thai Ministry of Health.
So far, 2,062 cases of the Omicron variant have been reported in Thailand, health ministry spokesperson Supakit Sirilak told a news conference, adding that there were 740 cases before the holidays.
Omicron variant was detected in 1,105 arriving foreign tourists, while the remaining cases were detected in those who came in contact with arriving foreigners.
The health ministry has warned of the risk of an outbreak of infections after the New Year holidays when people moved around the country to meet their relatives in their provinces and also participated in mass events.
According to the government, 64.1 per cent of Thailand’s estimated 72 million people have so far been vaccinated with two doses of the vaccine, while only 9.8 per cent have received a third vaccination.
“Please come get vaccinated at hospitals near your homes,” a health ministry spokesman said, noting that anyone who received the second dose before November was eligible.
“The fourth dose will be given to medical staff, first-line workers and at-risk groups three months after the third vaccination,” he added.
Alarmed at the spread of the Omicron variant, the government has suspended the Test&Go programme, which allowed vaccinated tourists not to undergo quarantine. However, those who had previously registered for the programme would be able to enter the country by January 10.
The so-called “sandbox” programme, which obliges tourists to stay in a particular hotel for seven days on quarantine but allows them to move freely outside the booked hotel, has also been suspended in all locations except Phuket Island.
To date, a total of 2.2 million cases of infection and 21750 deaths related to the coronavirus have been reported in Thailand.
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