Songkran could be a ‘super-spreader’ event if the government is not careful

Thailand’s third wave of Covid-19 could be exacerbated over the long holiday as people travel around the country to visit friends and family, a public health expert told Thai Enquirer on Thursday.

Nearly 1,000 cases have been reported in Thailand since the weekend as infections in the capital, Bangkok, continues to increase. The new infections were clustered initially in entertainment venues around the Greater Bangkok area and have spread among office workers and socialites. (Read more here)

The transport minister has tested positive for Covid-19 and half the cabinet are in self-quarantine. But despite growing concern over the outbreak, the government has said that Songkran celebrations will go ahead.

“The holidays is definitely a risk-period for the country because people will be traveling back to their home provinces,” said a senior doctor at the Ministry of Public Health who asked to not be named.

“Obviously we’ve pressed this concern to the minister [of public health] and the cabinet but they’ve weighed their decision with other factors and are deciding to go ahead so far,” he said.

Several provinces have proposed a 14-quarantine period for travelers or to have them take a Covid-19 test on arrival for those traveling from the red zones, areas with the highest number of infections, in the central region.

“A quarantine period will be a smart decision for many of these provinces that do not have a high number of infections, the test is less safe because there is a long incubation process and results might not show up,” the doctor said.

“The government is granting the provinces a lot of autonomy in how to tackle this but I feel a more coordinated effort is needed to stop this from becoming a ‘super-spreader’ event.”

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