Daily COVID-19 infections are expected to peak at around 4,000 cases in September and outdoor mask-wearing is still required, albeit voluntary, while the COVID-19 alert level will remain at 2, senior ministry officials say. of public health.
The head of the disease control department’s epidemiology division, Chakkarat Pittayawonganon, said today (Tuesday) that infection data from the 22nd to 26th week of this year clearly shows an upward trend, particularly in Bangkok and tourist provinces, despite the decline in the number of infections reported by the government this year. the week.
He said the infection curve will climb sharply, to its peak of around 4,000 cases per day in September, from around 2,000 cases this week, if the easing of COVID-19 measures since June remains unchanged, including the voluntary wearing of the mask.
Dr Chakkarat said wearing a face mask outside is still necessary, although it is no longer compulsory, and most people in Bangkok still seem to wear one.
He insisted that hospital bed occupancy for severe cases of COVID-19 is currently at 10.9%, but he warned that if the rate increased to 50%, all public hospitals would have to adjust their bed management to cope.
An urgent directive was recently issued by the Permanent Secretary of Public Health, Kiattibhoom Vongrachit, to all public hospitals, ordering them to prepare spare beds, equipment, medicines and manpower to cope. to a potential new wave of COVID-19 infections.
General hospital bed occupancy in Bangkok is 35.6%, 28.2% in Samut Prakan, 28.4% in Phuket, 27.6% in Nonthaburi and 21.6% in Pathum Thani province .
Dr Kiattibhoom, however, said Thailand is now approaching a post-pandemic period, which means people in the country will have to live with COVID-19 and infections will occur, although the severity of the effects of the disease can decrease.
He said the spike in infections is not unexpected, but it will not be a new pandemic, as he assured that the Ministry of Public Health has made preparations for medical personnel, drugs and adequate hospital beds are available to deal with the new situation.
He said the increase in daily infections does not warrant raising the alert level, saying the situation is under control and “universal prevention” and “universal vaccination” measures are still in place.
“Universal prevention” includes social distancing, regular hand washing and wearing a face mask. He suggested people wear a mask in public and, especially, in crowded areas with poor air circulation. This is especially important for the elderly and those with underlying conditions.
“Universal vaccination,” he said, means people get their booster shots to help reduce the risk of getting seriously ill and being hospitalized.