Anutin backtracks on July 1 endemic goal

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Covid-19 will not be declared as an endemic disease on July 1, the health minister said on Friday, despite earlier suggestions that it would be.

Senior members of the government have been telling the public over the past two months that the government is planning to declare Covid as an endemic disease in July without providing a timeline or specific criteria.

Those claims were refuted by the health minister.

“No one said that it would be declared on July 1,” Anutin Charnvirakul told reporters at government house.

Anutin said the current outbreak with the number of severe cases of around 1,000 patients and the declining number of daily Covid deaths are supporting the move to declare the disease as endemic.

However, the steps toward the declaration will continue to be done gradually and the process currently involves the re-zoning of provinces and hard hit areas to ease domestic restrictions.

Thailand reported 6,463 new Covid cases and 41 related deaths on Friday with 1,037 severe cases in hospitals nationwide.

For facemask wearing, Anutin said the emergency decree’s order for people to wear facemasks in public is only a recommendation.

He said some provinces have issued their own mandatory facemask order with fines but they are rarely being enforced.

“There is no need to strictly enforce it because people are cooperating,” he said.

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