Home Coronavirus

Gov’t Blocking 15 Provinces from Declaring Covid-19 Endemic

A medical worker at a hospital in Surin, Thiailand administers a coronavirus test through a 'Covid Box' made by state telephone company TOT out of an old phone booth.
A medical worker at a hospital in Surin, Thiailand administers a coronavirus test through a 'Covid Box' made by state telephone company TOT out of an old phone booth.

Fifteen provinces are ready to declare Covid-19 an endemic disease, but may see their plans thwarted by the central government.

Dr. Suthep Petchmak, inspector-general of the Ministry of Public Health, said at a Monday meeting that approval from the Emergency Operations Center is required before any further announcements can be made.

Suthep said the Department of Disease Control has completed its criteria for the endemic designation, but the EOC has yet to discuss which provinces are ready for approval. A date for the EOC meeting to discuss the issue has not been set.

Suthep did not name the 15 provinces, but noted that Songkhla would be one of them. The southern province said it is ready to declare Covid-19 endemic because 80% of its population have been vaccinated and 30% have received booster shots.

Surin Province on March 28 said it would become the first to declare Covid-19 an endemic disease before reversing the decision two days later.

The National Communicable Disease Committee defines endemic provinces as having fewer than 10,000 new daily cases and a fatality rate of less than 0.1%. More than 80% of those at risk must have also received coronavirus vaccine doses.

Suvarnabhumi International Airport Director Kittipong Kittikachorn meanwhile said the airport will discuss with other agencies expanding its capacity to accommodate more international visitors.

Kittipong expects international arrivals to increase beginning May 1 following the lifting of the Test & Go Scheme by the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration. He also said airport officials are discussing a number of initiatives to help alleviate overcrowding at the facility.