Thailand aims to declare COVID-19 endemic by year's end

Thailand’s Public Health Ministry plans to declare COVID-19 an endemic disease by the end of 2022, using its own criteria and with or without World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmation.

COVID-19 vaccination in Bangkok, Thailand (Source: Xinhua/VNA)
COVID-19 vaccination in Bangkok, Thailand (Source: Xinhua/VNA)

Local media reported that health permanent secretary Kiattiphum Wongrajit announced the intention after a meeting of the ministry's National Communicable Disease Committee on January 27.

Kiattiphum said the committee plans the declaration before the end of the year on its own academically acceptable criteria, which are no more than 10,000 new cases a day, the fatality rate not exceeding 0.1 percent and more than 80 percent of at-risk people receiving two doses of vaccine.

He informed that the Public Health Ministry is of the view that COVID-19 has spread for over two years, and trends show that the disease is under control and is now not too severe.

According to him, local officials will take action to speed up the process towards the announcement, rather than waiting for the disease to naturally become endemic by itself, or for the WHO to declare it an endemic disease. After the declaration, the Thai government would treat patients according to their individual needs and may require everyone or only patients to wear face masks.

On the morning of January 27, Thailand confirmed 8,078 new cases and 22 deaths over the past 24 hours, raising the total caseload and death toll to 2,407,022 and 22,098, respectively.