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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Masks will remain mandatory even after the pandemic – Thai Ministry of Health

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The requirement to wear masks in Thailand will remain mandatory even after Covid-19 is reclassified as endemic

The National Committee on Infectious Diseases has begun discussing plans for the post-pandemic period, including the requirement to continue wearing masks, the Bangkok Post reported, citing Thailand’s health minister.

The Ministry of Health hosted a meeting of the Infectious Diseases Committee, chaired by Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul. The committee reviewed measures to control Covid-19 after the disease becomes endemic in Thailand.

“New cases of Covid-19 in the country are declining, and many other countries are also planning to make the disease endemic, including India, Spain and the United States (California),” Anutin said. “The number of new cases and deaths in Thailand has decreased faster than expected, thanks to public cooperation and increased vaccinations,” the minister added.

According to the Covid-19 Situation Center, there were 17,386 new cases in Thailand yesterday, including 9,736 positive antigen tests, while the number of deaths fell below 100 for the first time since May 1. Fifty-six deaths from Covid-19 were recorded.

“This is a result of the efforts of those who are strictly enforcing Covid-19 prevention measures and the high ratio of people who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus,” Anutin said.

During the meeting, steps were taken to prepare for a review of Kovid-19 status in Thailand as an endemic disease, with the Ministry of Health downgrading the risk level for Kovid-19 from Level 4 to Level 3 and asking provincial authorities to prepare their own action plans. The plans will be based on universal protection, universal vaccination and a sufficient number of hospital beds, doctors, medicines and vaccines.

Thailand Pass entry registration for visitors to Thailand could be eliminated because new infections are found in fewer than 10 visitors a day, Anutin said.

Nevertheless, the Department of Disease Control (DDC) plans to take measures encouraging visitors to continue wearing face masks to help combat Covid-19, the minister stressed. Primarily, these measures would apply to the operation of entertainment venues. The DKZ has been asked to find effective measures to combat Covid-19 if nightclubs, bars and other nightlife entertainment establishments are allowed to reopen.

To move to the next step, the ministry has consulted with the DKZ on measures to help such establishments reopen, and has also tried to find measures to encourage foreign tourists to wear masks at all times.

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