Jump in Covid cases put down to highly transmissible Omicron BA.5 strain
Thailand’s daily count of Covid-19 cases is on an upward trend thanks to the highly infectious Omicron BA.5 subvariant, vice chair of the Public Health Commission said on Tuesday.
Chalermchai Boonyaleephan said Thailand’s fourth wave of Covid-19 infections was sparked in January with the arrival of the Omicron variant. He added that the more Omicron mutates, BA.1 to BA.5, the more easily transmissible it becomes.
He added that from July 17 to 23, the number of Covid-19 infections had surged 40.11 per cent to 31,582 from 22,542 in the week of July 10-16.
He added that the number of patients who developed lung inflammation and those requiring respirators rose to 834 and 383 respectively in the week of July 17-23, compared to 781 and 345 in the previous week.
He also said that the number of Covid-19 deaths is rising, with 29, 30 and 32 recorded over the past three days (July 23-25).
“The surge in deaths is in line with the trend of fatalities rising one or two weeks after infections increase,” he said.
The only way infections can be kept low is if people get at least three Covid-19 shots to protect themselves. So far, only 44.1 per cent of people in Thailand have received their third jab.
He added that Omicron BA.5 spreads five times faster than the original Wuhan strain and 3.6 times faster than the Delta strain.
“Hence, we should be disciplined and protect ourselves by wearing a face mask, observing social distancing, washing hands frequently and getting boosters, especially those in the vulnerable group,” he said.
He added that many people were good at protecting themselves from the Delta variant last year.