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Experts urge end to COVID fear as gates swing open

Experts urge end to COVID fear as gates swing open

BANGKOK: Health experts are attempting to allay concern that new coronavirus strains in China may be imported into Thailand, saying they are less worrisome than the already dominant strain in Thailand.

By Bangkok Post

Tuesday 3 January 2023, 09:16AM

Photo: Bangkok Post

Photo: Bangkok Post

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.

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christysweet | 04 January 2023 - 11:39:44

Loads of studies have Sinovac at about 50% efficacy while the M RNA's are at about 90% .  

christysweet | 04 January 2023 - 11:36:58

It's no conspiracy the Thai made AZ vax was halted and I have had adverse cardio and vascular symptoms since about 4 weeks after the Sept 2021 dose. Took a couple of months but finally I am getting somewhere with Siam Bioscience as far as more info but  I'm sure it is not complete. 

JohnC | 04 January 2023 - 09:49:28

The conspiracy theorists are out in force today. Economic terrorism??? LOL. Yes, the earth is flat too....

maverick | 03 January 2023 - 16:36:52

Pooliekev@ spot on - the lack of long clinical trials and adequate testing (for good reason at the time) means we simply do not know - what we do know is they do not prevent infection, transmission, and can have unpleasant side effects - sounds like the flu jab - right ?

Pooliekev | 03 January 2023 - 15:39:44

@Kurt. There is nothing that says Sinovac/Sinopharm is any less effective than the much vaunted, potentially fatal mRNA vaccines. 

Kurt | 03 January 2023 - 11:36:27

Fear/being afraid for Covid? That stage we passed. We all know now what Covid-19 is. But as people in china not built up natural resistance due to the extreme isolations/lock downs overthere + the very weak chinese vaccines used, but it is good to be vigilant. Ask at least a negative Covid test of incoming Chinese tourists. Why not, Thailand? Scared to make chinese chairman Xi angry? Pfff. 

maverick | 03 January 2023 - 10:14:43

Shame these experts have taken so long to confirm what many already knew -perhaps then we would not have seen the terrible consequences of lockdowns and economic terrorism - the impacts of which , especially on the young who have missed out on education, could take years to materialize - or was there an agenda all along - perhaps Sweden never got the memo 


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