Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul will propose restoring the Test & Go programme to win back overseas visitors and accelerate the economic recovery.
The minister said yesterday he will ask the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) to relax restrictions stepped up early this year in response to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
His request will be put to the centre after a discussion with the Department of Disease Control which confirmed that the fast-spreading Omicron variant caused milder symptoms with far fewer hospitalisations and deaths.
As Omicron is within the government’s ability to control it, measures to spur the economy, which were halted earlier, will be resumed amid a Covid-safe setting.
Mr Anutin noted the public cooperated well in addressing Omicron, which is now the country’s dominant coronavirus strain.
In the past few weeks, daily caseloads have surged although they now appear to be levelling off.
The public health minister said approval will be sought from the CCSA, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, to resume the Test & Go programme under which overseas visitors spend only one night at a hotel. If their Covid-19 test turns out negative, they are free to leave that accommodation and enjoy their holidays.
Mr Anutin said it was unclear when the CCSA is expected to meet to consider his request.
He insisted a balance must be struck between keeping a guard up against the pandemic and restoring the economy.
Anutin: Will approach CCSA
However, Mr Anutin stopped short of confirming if reopening entertainment venues will be among measures he had in mind to ease restrictions. He said this issue needs careful consideration. Clubs and bars were blamed for triggering infection clusters, especially during New Year celebrations.
Meanwhile, Omicron has almost completely replaced the Delta variant in Bangkok, said the Centre for Medical Genomics at Ramathibodi Hospital.
Via Facebook, the centre said checks of Covid-19 infections among patients in state-run and private hospitals in the capital and surrounding provinces showed Omicron accounts for 91% of cases and Delta 2.8%. The checks were performed from Jan 3-16.
According to the centre, after a brief period of ‘Twindemic’, referring to the parallel infections between the Omicron and Delta strain ending, Omicron will be prevalent throughout the country.
“That is when almost everyone will be infected with Omicron at one time or another. After that people will have built a high immunity either from the vaccine or the infection,” the centre said.
“The intensity of Covid-19 symptoms will decline and fatalities will be significantly reduced,” the centre said, adding the cross-technology vaccination formula was also working well to boost immunity.
Covid-19 is likely to evolve into an endemic or a seasonal disease, it said.
Also yesterday, Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth, president of Bangkok Airways, said airlines wanted the government to bring back the Test & Go programme, as long as the health risk posed by Omicron was carefully assessed.
- Scientists hail game-changing immunity test: Government orders 50MILLION antibody testing kits that work in 20 minutes and could be ready by June as Boris Johnson returns to work on Monday
- Boris Johnson is 'reluctant to end lockdown over fears of a second wave of coronavirus infections' - despite lowest daily death toll for two weeks - but Sunak and Gove want to 'run hot' and ease restrictions sooner
- Former FDA commissioner fears for US states that are reopening amid coronavirus pandemic because she says some aren't even meeting Trump's minimum criteria
- Guernsey is already on its way out of lockdown with gardeners, mechanics, estate agents and builders told they can go back to work from Saturday while rest of British Isles votes with its feet as big firms reopen for business
- Lifting lockdowns safely relies on effective testing. Germany surges ahead, but US states are flying blind
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
- Coronavirus testing needs to go up by 350,000 per day for the US to reopen, Harvard researchers say
- 5 things to know for April 20: Coronavirus, tests, Nova Scotia, small biz, One World
- Government orders 50million coronavirus immunity tests that ‘could let Brits work and socialise as normal by June’
- Scant testing in US migration system risks spreading virus
- Coronavirus live updates: Los Angeles County reports spike in cases, citing testing backlog
- Coronavirus: German easing of lockdown to start with schools on May 4
- Traffic light system to get out of lockdown: Schools could go back on May 11 and hairdressers and clothes shops reopen - but over 70s face being stuck indoors for a YEAR
- Boris Johnson snuffs out Cabinet calls for early easing of lockdown: PM intervenes from Chequers rehab to insist a second peak of coronavirus outbreak not economic misery is the biggest danger
- Back to work? Companies finding it easier said than done
- Bank of England boss Andrew Bailey warns against easing social distancing too early and says the psychological effects of a 'false start' that forces Britons back into lockdown could damage economy more
- Pro-Trump protesters push back on stay-at-home orders
- Covid-19: Donald Trump looks to ease distancing in places; CEOs urge caution
- Tory MPs' fury at lockdown limbo: Backbenchers urge ministers to set out detailed plan for easing restrictions as Chief Medical Officer Whitty warns some social distancing will be in place for a YEAR
- How countries are easing COVID-19 lockdown
Anutin backs restoring Test & Go as Omicron fears ease have 864 words, post on www.bangkokpost.com at January 18, 2022. This is cached page on Business News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.