PM warns health services to prepare for Songkran surge

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A policeman holds water guns after seizing them from boys on Khao San road as they were banned from playing with water during the Songkran holiday on Thursday. (Reuters photo)

Prime Minister and Defense Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered the Public Health Ministry and other state agencies to prepare for an increase in Covid-19 infections when people return to work after Monday’s long vacation.

The prime minister has instructed these health bodies to ensure rapid responses to any new clusters of Covid-19 infections, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said on Saturday.

The National Health Security Office (NHSO) has boosted the capacity of its hotline to respond to an expected surge in demand for help with Covid-19 care and advice after the Songkran festival, he said. declared.

The NHSO also recommends that people observe their health for a week to 10 days for signs of infection, which can include high fever, cough or runny nose, he said.

A rapid antigen test is recommended for anyone with any of these symptoms, and doctors should be made aware of the patient’s travel history while on vacation, Mr Thanakorn said.

Gen. Prayut said he was confident the country had enough medical supplies and healthcare resources to deal with the current virus transmission situation, Deputy Government Spokesperson Traisuree Taisaranakul added. .

The Prime Minister, however, stressed the need for the Ministry of Public Health to step up public information about “long Covid”, which is now more common following the increase in the number of cases of the highly transmissible variants of Covid-19. Omicron, Ms. Traisuree said.

“Long Covid is real. Don’t be fooled by the illusion that Covid-19 is more or less like a regular flu, takes a little while to recover and will soon become an endemic disease,” said Dr Thira Woratanarat , an associate professor at Chulalongkorn University Medical School.

Anan Jongkaewwattana, director of the Veterinary Health Innovation and Management Research Group at the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, meanwhile raised concerns about the risks of coronavirus mutation after Songkran when ” international tourists” were seen splashing water without masks. “A growing number of new infections may still be manageable. But please more diversity in virus variants,” he said.

The number of Covid-19 deaths recorded on Saturday hit a new high at 125, with 18,892 new cases recorded, the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration said. About 1.78 million people have been infected since Jan. 1, he said.

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