They made the remarks with Chinese tourists expected to flock back to Thailand after Beijing reopens its borders on Sunday, reports the Bangkok Post.
Writing on Facebook, Anan Jongkaewwattana, a virologist at the National Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, said that China is currently hit by highly transmissible Omicron strains, mainly BA.5.2 and BF.7, which are descendants of the BA.5 Omicron variant.
The two strains are responsible for more than half of confirmed cases in China, he posted.
The highly transmissible and immune-invasive Omicron XBB.1.5 variant, which is rapidly becoming dominant in the US, has also been detected in China, he posted.
“Interestingly, the Omicron subvariant BA.2.75, now a dominant strain in Thailand, has not been detected in China yet.
“We are concerned that the strains in China may be imported into Thailand [when the country reopens its borders].
“But BA.5.2 in China is nothing new in Thailand because we already experienced it. It is already starting to fade away [as it is being taken over by BA.2.75],” he posted.
“The BA.2.75 subvariant in Thailand is more worrisome,” he added.
Dr Manoon Leechawengwongs, a pulmonologist with Vichaiyut Hospital, posted on Facebook that Thais should not panic about new strains of COVID-19 in China being imported into the country when China reopens its borders.
“Mutations of the virus can happen anywhere in the world. We should treat and welcome Chinese travellers as our guests in the same way we do to visitors from other countries,” he posted.
“We should stop fearing COVID. We have to co-exist with it and receive regular booster shots of vaccine like we get an influenza vaccine. Precautions, such as wearing masks in crowded places, washing hands, and maintaining physical distances, are still recommended.”
The National Committee for Communicable Diseases has said that screening at airports won’t be required for the time being. However, the committee does expect arrivals to show proof of vaccination and a suitable insurance policy.