Thailand: Lockdown ‘unlikely’, insists PM

  • Another Covid-19 lockdown is unlikely despite the emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variant, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha insisted on 7 Dec 21, quelling fears among the business community that their revenue could take another hit during the peak season.
  • “After all everything now depends on how effective the Covid Free Setting and other measures are. If there is no new spread of the virus, who would ever close or lock down [activities] again? No one would,” the prime minister said.
  • “As of now, the requirement that international visitors undergo an RT-PCR Covid-19 test upon arriving in the kingdom is seen by health authorities as sufficient to detect the new variant and prevent it from spreading here,” he added.
  • Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said the current vaccination campaign must be ramped up to keep people’s immunity at a high level in order to cope with any large-scale spread of Omicron. People who received their second vaccination shots in Aug 21 are urged to get a booster.
  • Mr Anutin said the government has clarified to manufacturers that vaccines arriving in 2022 must be capable of fighting off any new strains of the virus.
  • Foreign Affairs Minister Don Pramudwinai said it was too soon to try and estimate how Omicron would impact Thailand’s hosting of 2022’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summits and related meetings.
  • Asked if the format of the summit was likely to change in the event of Omicron triggering a new wave of the pandemic, Mr Don said it was too early to say.
  • All 17 people who came in close contact with Thailand’s first Omicron case at the hotel of the American tourist have tested negative for Covid-19, the Department of Disease Control reported on 7 Dec 21.

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