Thailand is keeping a close watch on the Covid-19 situation amid fears over the latest Omicron variant, and has ordered border agencies to increase security and screening measures for all visitors entering the country, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said on November 30.
“Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has said that security officials at borders must strictly follow disease-control regulations. If any illegal migrants are reported to have slipped into the country, those responsible officials would be punished,” he warned.
“The prime minister also ordered related agencies to closely follow the latest updates on Omicron, especially the rate of its spread and severity of symptoms compared to known variants such as Delta and Alpha.
“Prime Minister Prayut also said that in order to strengthen the economy that is slowly recovering, the government would continue to vaccinate people to increase their immunity and prevent severe symptoms and deaths,” Thanakorn said.
“The government will also provide accurate information about the new variant and inform people promptly if there is any Omicron case reported in the country,” he added.
Thailand has recorded more than 2.1 million Covid infections, the lion’s share since the Delta variant took off in April.
On November 27, the Ministry of Public Health announced that from December 1 Thailand would ban visitors by air from eight African countries to prevent the spread of the new, more easily transmissible Covid-19 variant, which was reported on November 24 in South Africa. The countries are Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
“Those that have already been approved to enter the country from these eight countries will be ordered to undergo an additional 14-day mandatory quarantine, starting now,” disease control department director-general Opas Karnkawinpong told reporters.
People from other African countries who have already secured approval to visit Thailand will be subject to 14 days in hotel quarantine.
Opas noted that no African countries are on a list of 63 nations eligible for quarantine-free travel to Thailand which started this month.
Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health reported on December 1 that in the past 24 hours there were 4,886 new patients who tested positive for Covid-19, 165 of whom have been found in prisons.
The death toll increased by 43, while 6,326 patients were cured and allowed to leave hospitals.
Only 57 per cent of the population of 70 million people are fully vaccinated.
Cumulative cases in the country are at 2,120,758 with 20,814 total deaths.
THE NATION (THAILAND)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK