Thailand’s health ministry believes that by July, the Covid-19 situation will have changed for the better enough for the disease to be classified as Covid endemic.
Last January, Thailand’s health ministry issued criteria to declare a Covid endemic.
According to a report in Nation Thailand, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said that the situation has improved and the virus will be downgraded by the middle of the year from pandemic to Covid endemic status.
He goes on to say that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has attributed the progress made to the government’s vaccine rollout and healthcare system. The Prime Minister has also emphasized the significance of the general public in disease prevention. While Thailand’s infection rate remains high, it has begun to decline. The kingdom identified 21,881 new cases yesterday, down from 22,818 the day before. However, the number of fatalities linked to Covid increased from 52 on Saturday to 59 late last night.
According to Dr Sumanee Watcharasin of the CCSA, a lot of other countries and regions, including India, Spain, and California, are preparing to treat Covid-19 as Covid endemic. When the virus is declared Covid endemic, people can resume their lives as they were before the pandemic. According to Sumanee, the health ministry has collaborated with a number of government agencies and academic institutions to investigate eight areas considered hotspots for the virus, as well as 44 other areas with low infection rates.
The study concluded that Thailand had successfully managed the pandemic through measures such as vaccine rollout, provision of medication and medical infrastructures, and disease prevention measures, according to a media report. Asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic patients can now start receiving outpatient treatment and undergo home recovery.
The government is also assisting in the creation of new vaccines as well as medical treatments, and the rate of infection is now decreasing. Sumanee claims that a lot of nations are hopeful that the pandemic is coming to an end because new variants are less dangerous. He believes that once the virus is declared Covid endemic, the government should introduce public education campaigns to teach people how to protect themselves.
What happens when you test positive during Covid endemic
Mekin, a hotel worker, stated that an ATK test revealed he was positive on March 3. Authorities had only launched the Outpatient Self Isolation scheme two days before, but its implementation was still patchy and perplexing.
“I turned up at the hospital where I’ve been eligible for free medical services under social security scheme only to be turned away,” recounted Mekin, who spoke on condition his surname was withheld.
“Staff just told me to book the RT/PCR test via the QueQ app. I was not even advised about my rights to social security.
Mekin stated that when he opened the app, there were no services available to book right away. So he contacted a well-known volunteer network, which came to pick him up from his home later that evening and transport him to Prachaniwet Sport Center in north Bangkok, where a triage hub has been established.
“There was neither medicine nor food when I arrived. Officials there did not provide any care,” Mekin said. “I was at a loss. The conditions of the facilities were not good. I [finally] received some food at 8pm.”
He was given only basic medicines to treat a common cold after staying overnight there. He then asked for an RT-PCR test at a hospital where he is eligible for free medical care under the social security system. The earliest available appointment, he was told, was on March 7.
He requested permission to leave the triage center because he was uncomfortable. Officials agreed to let him go if someone went to collect him.
Mekin has now rented a place to isolate himself from his close relatives and is hoping for proper treatment.
“If possible, I want to go to a hospitel,” he said.
Mekin is hesitant to return home or participate in the home isolation program because he is concerned about his vulnerable family members. “At home are my six-year-old son, my 85-year-old father-in-law, and my 78-year-old mother-in-law,” he said.
Covid treatment during Covid endemic
Thailand’s COVID-19 situation, according to Public Health Ministry spokesman Dr Rungruang Kitpati, has moved from the end-of-pandemic to Covid endemic stage. He predicted that the Covid endemic stage would begin in July, when COVID-19 patients would be taken care of similarly to those with other common communicable diseases such as influenza.
Those who have minor or no symptoms will be treated as outpatients for the time being. Simply put, they should take care of themselves using home-prescribed medications. Only those with severe symptoms or who are at higher risk of having serious conditions will be admitted.
Jadej Thammatacharee, secretary-general of the National Health Security Office (NHSO), even proposed that individuals who tested positive for COVID but had minor symptoms and could self isolate and treat themselves at home with common medications did not need to call the 1330 hotline or notify authorities.
Home isolation during Covid endemic
Saowalak Somkul, a factory worker who lives alone, had no concerns about going into home isolation (HI) after testing positive for COVID-19 via an ATK on February 23. She also believed that her choice of HI would help the government save money on COVID-19.
“What I didn’t know was that I could be left on my own,” the 44-year-old said.
The 1330 hotline for HI patients, according to Saowalak, was always busy. She counted herself fortunate when someone finally returned her call. The first time she called, the line went dead while she was speaking. The second time, she was able to obtain information about registering on the NHSO website and contacting NHSO via Line.
Saowalak was initially told that NHSO could take up to six hours to respond. After six hours, she contacted them via LINE and received a chatbot response stating that delays were possible due to the large number of patients. She attempted to call the NHSO hotline again, but had the same problems getting through.
NHSO announced a few days ago that its hotline was receiving 70,000 calls per day, making it impossible to respond to all inquiries.
“So, after discovering I had caught the new coronavirus, I spent the next five days alone. No one sent me medicines or food. It was different from what I’d heard in news reports,” Saowalak said of her experience. “If you are ill, all alone, and not sure about your own health condition, you will feel intense stress like me.”
She took the decision to go to the hospital on February 28. The doctor there, on the other hand, refused to give her Favipiravir, claiming that anti-COVID pills were not accessible to people in home isolation.
“I don’t think this makes sense. My friend received this drug from another hospital even though she is also in HI,” Saowalak said, lamenting the fact that medical facilities had different standards.
Fortunately, Saowalak was able to recover from COVID-19 and return to work.