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Thai Health Minister Backs Plan To Restore Test & Go Program

Published: January 18, 2022 at 6:12 pm

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Thailand Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul says he supports the plan to bring back the Test & Go entry program as worries about the Omicron variant decrease. Bringing back the Test & Go program can win back international travelers that will speed up the recovery of the tourism industry.  The program was suspended 4 weeks ago due to the global spread of the Omicron variant.  Anutin added that he will approach the COVID-19 Situation Administration about the plan of bringing it back and easing restrictions.

According to the Bangkok Post, Anutin will submit his proposal to the CCSA after meeting with the Department of Disease Control. It was determined that Omicron did not result in the wave of severe sickness and hospitalizations that the government had expected.  Anutin likes to see a balance between disease prevention and economic recovery.  It is still not clear if he will also include in his proposal the plan of reopening nightlife and entertainment establishments. The ministry has long argued that such businesses serve as the breeding ground for the virus with many large clusters recently connected to the recent end-of-year party.

According to the Centre for Medical Genomics at Ramathibodi Hospital, Omicron has almost completely overtaken the previous dominant variant (Delta) in Bangkok. Tests taken on individuals in Bangkok and other parts of central Thailand reveal that 91% of infections are Omicron variant while 2.8% on Delta variant. They added that the majority could get infected with the Omicron variant which when combined with the approved COVID-19 vaccine will help achieve herd immunity.

“There are chances that everyone will be infected with the Omicron variant. After that, people will develop a high level of immunity as a result of vaccination. COVID-19 symptoms will become less severe and mortality will decrease significantly.”

Aside from the Thailand Public Health Minister, airline companies also hope that the Thai government will consider bringing back the Test and Go program

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Source: Bangkok Post

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