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Thailand aims to remove remaining Covid restrictions by the beginning of July as economic pressures and inflation pushes forward the government’s timeframe for declaring an end to the pandemic, a senior government advisor said on Friday.
Thailand found nearly 5,000 new cases of Covid-19 on Friday but with booster shots readily available and the death toll lowering by the week, the country appears ready to declare the disease as endemic.
Anutin Charnvirakul, the Minister of Public Health, told reporters that there was no timeframe or pressure to rush the government on ending restrictions.
However, according to a senior doctor working within the government, the cabinet has set an unofficial deadline of early July to get rid of remaining Covid restrictions and catalyse the economy further.
The government has already put in provisions which will allow unvaccinated travelers to enter the country beginning on June 1 to help boost the tourism sector further.
Now, it plans on allowing the resumption of nightlife activities and large scale events including the lucrative convention and meetings business.
Due to rising fuel and commodity prices, the government has been under pressure from both the opposition parties and business leaders over the economy.
According to the doctor, the Covid situation center has been told to lower numbers and prepare the country for an end to restrictions.
“For many of the cabinet ministers, it is time for this pandemic to end and for the focus to be on ways to kickstart the economy,” the doctor told Thai Enquirer by phone.
The doctor added that the number of Thais infected since the spread of Omicron earlier this year was many times the official number reported.
But due to asymptomatic infections and a lack of mass testing, the real total was never known.
“It’s a good thing because death rates have remained low while infection numbers are much much higher. We’re moving towards herd immunity at this point, which will be important to the country opening up.”