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COVID-19 cases ‘declining’ despite foreign arrival surge

COVID-19 cases ‘declining’ despite foreign arrival surge

BANGKOK: The number of COVID-19 cases has gradually declined, despite the spike in foreign visitors entering the country, said government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul.

By Bangkok Post

Saturday 28 January 2023, 08:51AM

Tourists visit Yaowarat Rd in Bangkok during the Chinese New Year celebration on Jan 22. Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb / Bangkok Post

Tourists visit Yaowarat Rd in Bangkok during the Chinese New Year celebration on Jan 22. Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb / Bangkok Post

According to the Tourism and Sports Ministry, 1,342,365 people entered the country from Jan 1 to 21. Out of those, 914,746 were foreign nationals. Most visitors came from Russia, Malaysia, Korea, India, and Laos, respectively, reports the Bangkok Post.

The number of tourists has tended to increase since the country relaxed its immigration measures, especially after China allowed its citizens to go abroad freely.

Ms Traisuree said there were 627 cases of people being hospitalised in the country last week, including 44 deaths.

The number was down from the week of Jan 8-14, which saw 969 new COVID cases and 65 deaths, she added.

Eight foreigners were reported to have brought the disease into the country from Jan 8-21, said Ms Traisuree.

Most cases came from China (three cases), while the others were from Myanmar, Cambodia, Korea, Japan, and Britain (one case each).

The dominant sub-variant of the Omicron strain is BA.2.75, with 86% prevalence, while another is the domestic sub-variant, she said, citing the Department of Medical Sciences.

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The government encourages people to be vaccinated because the country needs to strike a balance between the economy and disease control, she said.

Separately, Dr Manoon Leechawengwongs, a pulmonologist at Vichaiyut Hospital, said the newly imported XBB.1.5 strain could cause a new wave.

The XBB.1.5 sub-variant, according to Dr Manoon, was first detected in India in August and developed by combining the BA.2.10.1 sub-variant with the BA.2.75 sub-variant.

This sub-variant spreads easier and avoids antibodies better, but is less severe, especially in vaccinated people or those who have already been exposed to the virus.

Meanwhile, Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt said City Hall applies strict disease control measures against foreign visitors.

Visitors who test positive for the virus through antigen tests are immediately quarantined at City Hall hospitals, he said.

The governor said the disease situation in Bangkok is not critical, as the capital has detected fewer than 100 COVID cases daily.

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Kurt | 30 January 2023 - 09:09:30

Qustion: Is there now a total arrival antigen testing at Thai borders/airports? If not, all figures mentioned here by Ministry, Governors, Doctors are not worth the paper written on. Only philosofical, trying to get some attention.

ematt | 28 January 2023 - 17:27:02

Wow Capricorn, 6 or 7! Maybe you should call Khun Traisuree and tell her!

Capricornball | 28 January 2023 - 16:06:04

The title is deceiving, as I don't think cases have declined...only the reporting of cases has declined.  I know at least 6 or 7 people that have had covid within the last 2 weeks.

Pooliekev | 28 January 2023 - 12:16:48

@JohnC. How did they know that eight foreigners brought the disease into the country without checking?

JohnC | 28 January 2023 - 09:19:41

Case numbers will always go down when they stop doing checks on arrivals and also on local people. Only those who seek help are recorded as contracting the disease.


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