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Face mask-wearing mandate to be lifted ‘only in certain areas’

Face mask-wearing mandate to be lifted ‘only in certain areas’

BANGKOK: The Public Health Ministry has issued a clarification about news regarding the lifting of the mask mandate next month, saying the mask requirement may be eased only in some designated areas.

CoronavirusCOVID-19Vaccinetourism
By Bangkok Post

Thursday 26 May 2022, 09:07AM


Students wear masks to protect themselves from COVID-19 at Wat Rajabopit School in Bangkok this month. Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut

Students wear masks to protect themselves from COVID-19 at Wat Rajabopit School in Bangkok this month. Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut

Permanent secretary of the Public Health Ministry, Dr Kiattiphum Wongrajit, said yesterday (May 25) the COVID-19 situation has improved faster than expected, so the pandemic may be downgraded to an endemic disease as planned.

The ministry then must step up measures to ensure people can live with COVID-19 safely, he added.

The lifting of the mask requirement is one option but the ministry does not plan to do so entirely yet, Dr Kiattiphum said. Indoor and outdoor masking will be eased in certain areas with lower infection rates and well-prepared treatment systems and where most locals are fully vaccinated, reports the Bangkok Post.

The mask regulations may be adjusted around mid-June, Dr Kiattiphum said.

However, the high-risk 608 group - which comprises people aged 60 years and above, those with underlying diseases and pregnant women - may be required to put on masks in certain areas for their own safety, as well as people in high-density and crowded areas, he added.

Dr Taweesap Siraprapasiri, a senior official with the Department of Disease Control (DDC), said the relaxing of face mask measures may start in 31 provinces which he said includes 14 provinces designated as green zones in the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA)’s colour-coded zoning plus 17 provinces in blue zones including Bangkok, Chon Buri, Chiang Mai and Phuket.

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Another condition is that 60% of the population in the provinces should have three COVID-19 vaccines, he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Prasit Watanapa, dean of Mahidol University’s Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, urged that 50% of the population receive booster doses, notably those in the high-risk 608 group, before the declaration of endemic status.

Dr Prasit said that as most people from foreign countries have received COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, their governments have also started to ease mask requirements in certain areas, such as open-air venues.

As the Omicron variant is not as deadly as other variants, he said many countries have eased entry measures including vaccine requirements, before declaring the disease endemic.

As such, the Thailand Pass registration may no longer be required for foreigners from June 1, but vaccines must be administered broadly, according to Dr Prasit.

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CaptainJack69 | 26 May 2022 - 11:14:49

Flip-flop, flip-flop, flip-flop. Politicians want to have their cake AND eat it. Score brownie points with both sides of every argument. Result? Nothing happens!

People will wear masks if they want to. Most Thais WANT to.

Forcing some people to is like other debates about peoples control over their own bodies. Going to get some people VERY upset.

Kurt | 26 May 2022 - 09:54:00

Today: "Thailand Pass may not longer required for foreigners from 1 June, according Dr Prasit.  Yesterday: Thailand Pass continue, adding Covid insurance prove. Earlier: Face mask obligation will be lifted. Today: Face mask lifted? Nooo, only in certain areas, certain categories. Why always first trompetting 'big change announcements', than they get scared and squeeze it to almost not...

 

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