Thailand warns of spike in COVID-19 cases after “super-spreader” event


BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thai well being authorities warned on Wednesday that residents ought to brace themselves for a possible leap in coronavirus cases after classifying the nation’s first cluster of the Omicron variant as a super-spreader incident.

The Omicron cluster recognized in the northeastern province of Kalasin on Christmas eve has been linked to a few who had travelled from Belgium and visited bars, concert events and markets.

The ensuing cluster had contaminated a whole lot, with cases spreading to 11 different provinces, mentioned senior well being official Opas Karnkawinpong, citing how one of the bars linked to the cluster had been packed and didn’t have good air flow.

“During the New Year, when you go to anywhere and it doesn’t look protected, simply do not go,” Opas advised a briefing.

Up to now, Thailand has reported 740 cases of the extremely transmissible Omicron variant, together with 251 in individuals who had come into contact with international arrivals, mentioned Opas.

After coronavirus infections peaked in August above 20,000, every day case numbers have fallen to round 2,500 in the previous week.

But the well being ministry’s planning state of affairs indicated that by March every day infections might hit 30,000, with greater than 160 deaths, with out a sooner rollout of measures like vaccinations and testing, in addition to better social distancing.

If restrictions had been tightened, every day cases might peak at 14,000 in February, with fewer than 60 every day deaths, the state of affairs confirmed.

In the primary two weeks of January, authorities staff have been suggested they’ll do business from home, coronavirus taskforce spokesman Taweesin Wisanuyothin advised a separate briefing, the place he urged the personal sector to observe go well with.

After detecting the primary native Omicron an infection final week, Thai authorities reinstated necessary quarantine for international arrivals and suspended a “Test & Go” programme that allowed vaccinated travellers to keep away from quarantine.

(Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Ed Davies)

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