No shortening of quarantine for variant countries, official explains

Thailand will maintain the full quarantine length for several countries with high rates of the South African coronavirus variant, the government confirmed Friday, even as the isolation period has been dropped for others.

The threat from the variant remains real, with nine confirmed and one possible case found in quarantined travellers in the country so far, the government said on Friday.

All 10 cases were Thai nationals returning from Tanzania, the United Arab Emirates and Mozambique, said Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin, the spokesman of the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

Half were asymptomatic. The one suspected case is currently awaiting confirmation from another test. The first case of the variant in Thailand was reported on February 15. The patient is a 41-year-old Thai businessman who tested positive in quarantine after returning from a trip to Tanzania.

“This is why we still have to maintain the 14-day mandatory quarantine for people arriving from countries that have reported new variant,” he added.

The new quarantine period rules came into effect on Thursday where people who have been vaccinated can either enter seven or 10 days of quarantine instead of 14.

People who have completed their coronavirus vaccination course (both jabs, or one of the Johnson & Johnson inoculation) would be allow to enter the seven-day quarantine. People who have only the first of a two-jab course will have to spend 10 days in quarantine.

However, the full 14-day period still applies to anyone who has not been vaccinated, and to everyone arriving from countries with an outbreak of the new coronavirus variant.

These countries currently include, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana, Zambia, Kenya, Rwanda, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania and Ghana.

The vaccines that have been approved by the World Health Organization and the Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration that Thailand will accept are Sinovac’s CoronaVac, AstraZenaca/Oxford, AstraZeneca/Siam Bioscience, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer-BioNTech’s Tozinameran, Serum Institute of India’s Covishield and Moderna.

Domestically, more than 200,000 Thai people were vaccinated between February 28 and April 1.

Daily numbers

The CCSA reported 58 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours.

Of those, 45 were local infections and 13 were found in quarantine facilities.

Of the 45 local infections, 42 were found via tests at medical facilities and three via proactive tests at known clusters.

This brings the total number of infections since the pandemic began last year to 28,947 cases. While 27,606 people have recovered from the disease, 1,247 patients are still being treated.

There was no new fatality, leaving the death toll at 94 people.

Clusters and provinces

The second wave of the outbreak has reached 67 out of the 77 provinces in Thailand so far. Of the 67 provinces, 37 have not reported any case in the past 28 days.

The hardest-hit province continues to be Samut Sakhon, where the second wave began, which reported 17,137 confirmed cases since December 15.

This was followed by Bangkok (2,202), Pathumthani (763), Chonburi (658), Rayong (584), Samut Prakan (423), Chanthaburi (221), Tak (216), Nonthaburi (201), Nakhon Pathom (173) and Ang Thong (125), respectively.

Of the 45 local infections reported on Friday, 20 were found in Bangkok, followed by 14 in Samut Prakan, five in Samut Prakan, three in Nonthaburi, two in Tak and one in Loei.

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