Phuket officials want to declare Covid-19 endemic, even as the infection rate is rising on the southern island. According to a Bangkok Post report, deputy governor Pichet Panapong says achieving endemic status would allow officials to focus on economic recovery. Local officials would also like to get rid of the daily reporting of new infections, instead only reporting Covid cases involving moderate to severe illness.
“Phuket would be delighted to be the first province for the declaration. I hope this will help alleviate concerns about the virus and shift focus to economic restoration instead.”
According to Thailand’s National Communicable Disease Committee, a province can declare Covid-19 endemic if the infection rate doesn’t surpass 10,000 new cases a day, the fatality rate doesn’t surpass 0.1%, and over 80% of high-risk people have had at least 2 vaccine doses.
Pichet is also calling for the self-isolation period for infected patients to be shortened from 10 days to 5. During the first 5 days, he says patients should be able to self-isolate at home, at a hospitel, or in hospital. After that, they should be allowed to return to normal life, while observing strict disease prevention measures for another 5 days. The deputy governor says this would address the problem of work absenteeism due to the virus.
Phuket officials insist the island is safe and can care for both locals and tourists. It has rolled out vaccines to young children, the wearing of face masks is still mandatory, and patients with mild symptoms can be provided with basic treatments and favipiravir pills while self-isolating.
However, according to the Bangkok Post report, Pichet remains worried about the infection rate among tourists. The deputy governor says up to 3% of tourists are testing positive, with 4% of them found to be infected in day 5 tests. Phuket reported 549 new infections on Saturday. Of those, 67 were in sandbox tourists and 49 were in Test & Go arrivals.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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