Listen to this story
Thailand faces a “crucial” period for its Covid situation heading into the Songkran holidays, a senior doctor told Thai Enquirer on Monday, with the government preparing for the worst case scenario should cases rise exponentially.
Case numbers have stayed high but steady at around 20,000 cases per day over the last month caused in part by the omicron variant.
However according to Dr Prasit Watanapa, a senior doctor at Siriraj Hospital, that number could rise to 100,000 cases per day after Songkran if people do not take precautions.
It is a prediction that many people within the government agree with. According to one source within the CCSA, the government’s Covid task force, the administration is already preparing for a worst case scenario with plans to re-equip field hospitals and convert other facilities into makeshift units.
“People will travel. People will spread the disease. All we can do is prepare for a worst case scenario,” one source from inside the CCSA told Thai Enquirer on condition of anonymity.
“The number of deaths can be prevented if only people will get booster shots but they’re being apprehensive,” the source added.
According to Kamolwan Laohatiranont, a public health advisor for the Nonthaburi municipal office, the government must also do its best to increase awareness and encourage people to get boosters.
“We can’t just blame people for not wanting to get a third shot. We have to find the right messaging ad well.”
The government’s message ahead of the new year holiday has been one of caution.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul urged people to restrict travel where possible and to take ATK tests before traveling between provinces.
Anutin has also instructed his ministry to prepare for all eventual possibilities after the Songkran break including the introduction of new red zones throughout the country do to spiraling infections.
The public health minister, last week, recommended to the cabinet to reduce entry restrictions for foreign travelers as the majority of cases in the country were due to local transmission.
“I think both the minister and the government realize the cat is out of the bag and the only think they can do now is mitigate the situation rather than try to control the number of infections,” the CCSA source said.