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‘Test & Go’ country list to change

BANGKOK: The government is expected to revise its list of “Test & Go” countries following the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 as details yesterday (Dec 20) emerged of the country’s earliest recorded local case of the strain.

By Bangkok Post

Tuesday 21 December 2021, 09:19AM

International passengers arriving at Suvarnabhumi airport amid concerns that the ‘Test & Go’ programme for those entering the kingdom could be scrapped because of the rising number of Omicron variant cases. Photo: AFP

International passengers arriving at Suvarnabhumi airport amid concerns that the ‘Test & Go’ programme for those entering the kingdom could be scrapped because of the rising number of Omicron variant cases. Photo: AFP

Gen Supoj Malaniyom, chief of the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration’s (CCSA) operations base, said the list of of low-risk countries eligible for the tourism opening scheme will be reviewed and COVID-19 screening measures will be intensified.

Gen Supoj said the CCSA’s operation centre will identify “high-risk” countries before holding a meeting on Friday to decide on the extent to which the “Test & Go” scheme may need to be revised. If the risk of further infections is considered high, the scheme may be suspended completely, reports the Bangkok Post.

“We’re monitoring the spread of Omicron in other countries, not just the UK. The situation is alarming and we must take necessary precautions,” he said.

The entry programme, which started in November, applies to fully vaccinated visitors from specific countries in an attempt to revive the tourism and service industry.

“We have to be more stringent [with the “Test & Go” scheme] and COVID-19 screening of travellers,” said Gen Supoj.

His remarks came after the Public Health Ministry said it would back suspending the programme and requiring even fully vaccinated arrivals to spend time in sandbox and state quarantine schemes.

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said the ministry forwarded the proposal to the CCSA for consideration after more Omicron cases were detected.

Dr Chakkarat Pitayawong-anant, director for epidemiology at the Department of Disease Control, yesterday confirmed the local transmission of the Omicron variant.

A 49-year-old-Thai woman contracted the virus from her husband, a Colombian pilot who arrived from Nigeria and entered the country via the sandbox programme on Nov 26.

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The man, who had received two shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine prior to entry, tested negative for COVID-19 upon arrival and received a booster shot of the Pfizer vaccine on Dec 1.

However, he spent the 4th to the 6th of December suffering from a fever, tiredness and a sore throat. His antigen test was negative.

On Dec 7 he was taken to hospital where the RT-PCR test came back positive.

On Dec 10 both he and his wife were confirmed to have contracted the variant. His wife’s Omicron infection was later confirmed as the country’s earliest recorded case.

Dr Chakkarat also backed the temporary reimposition of travel curbs.

“To slow the spread of Omicron we need to do three things - slow the arrival rate, especially under “Test & Go”, speed up vaccinations and wear masks,” he said.

Dr Supakij Sirilak, director-general of the Department of Medical Sciences, said yesterday that as of Dec 19, there were 63 confirmed Omicron cases but noted that the detection rate had increased to 3%, from less than 1% the week before.

He also noted that of arrivals who tested positive for COVID-19, about 25% were found to be infected with the Omicron variant.

Details of the infections came as Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday announced that the country reached its goal of administering 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

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christysweet | 22 December 2021 - 14:33:00

Whoops  that should read Swine flu -  H1N1, a type A influenza particle, not related to the  "common cold"  corona virus at all- distinctly different particles. 

christysweet | 22 December 2021 - 14:28:57

It's long been a theory of mine that the most vociferous of Thai apologists  do not actually reside in  the country.  

christysweet | 22 December 2021 - 14:10:50

And that alleged daughter  in UK was vaccinated with...?  It's well established SARS -2 affects different people differently   Corona virus are not flu and no the common cold (corona)  did not evolve from a flu ( H1N1)  in 1895. This level of ignorance is astounding.   

maverick | 22 December 2021 - 09:34:26

Not even the flu my daughter picked it up in UK, runny nose and cough for a few days, how unusual for December in England - now cleared up and tested negative for past 4 days.....Russian Coronavirus of 1895 is what spawned today’s common cold that’s how virus’s evolve if you research it.

Christy Sweet | 21 December 2021 - 18:44:15

I wouldn't be so sure of that 'Just the flu'. So far  it's in places that have effective  vaccines, yet it transmits. Who can say what immunity CrapOVac will offer. 

DeKaaskopp | 21 December 2021 - 15:44:05

@CaptJack69 No one cares except journalists ? Lol !  Look at all those fearmonger on here with their comments.They panic whenever they read some new story about a new virus strain.They even panic if they see someone without a mask.Actually they would like to live under lockdown conditions until the end of their days.

CaptainJack69 | 21 December 2021 - 11:49:18

Omicron is literally just the flu and no one cares except the so-called-journalists worldwide trying to use it to generate page views and justify their salaries. This nonsense needs to stop. If anything it's a blessing giving people natural immunity without experiencing severe symptoms.

BTW: What happened to the dreaded Delta variant?


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