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Decree, Restrictions Remain, but Covid-19 No Longer ‘Emergency’ – Public Health Ministry

Nurses at COVID-19 Clinic, Sumut Sakhon Hospital, receives up to 20 patients, both Thais, and Burmese migrant workers. (Photo: World Health Organization)
Nurses at COVID-19 Clinic, Sumut Sakhon Hospital, receives up to 20 patients, both Thais, and Burmese migrant workers. (Photo: World Health Organization)

Bars remain closed, the Emergency Decree continues, egregious testing requirements persist and barriers to foreign tourism remain, even though Thailand now admits Covid-19 no longer is a medical emergency.

Dr. Kiatiphum Wongrajit, permanent secretary for the Public Health Ministry, said that as the number of Covid-19 patients needing hospitalization decreases, the coronavirus no longer can be not considered a medical emergency.

Only about 700 Covid-19 patients were admitted to hospital for recently, he said, justifying the respiratory disease’s removal from the Universal Coverage for Emergency Patients program.

UCEP remains available for Covid-19 patients with underlying illnesses, however, Kiatiphum said. For such patients, UCEP would provide them with comprehensive treatment coverage.

The ministry plans to introduce UCEP Plus to help people who had mild Covid-19 symptoms and chronic diseases at the same time. The Department of Health Service Support and the National Institute for Emergency Medicine would discuss UCEP Plus criteria, including the chronic diseases, whose Covid-19 treatment would be covered, Dr Kiatiphum said.

The patients who had mild or no symptoms would be advised to do home isolation or hotel isolation with online observation by officials concerned. “Hospitels” would not be included, he said.