A plan to downgrade the Covid-19 status from a pandemic to an endemic disease faces a deferral for another week, as health authorities are keeping a close watch on new subvariants and the consequences of lifting restrictions.
The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) was set to decide on Friday whether Covid-19 should be declared an endemic disease.
But the head of CCSA's operations centre, Gen Supote Malaniyom, said the centre agreed to postpone the meeting for another week to give health authorities time to evaluate the situation of two new subvariants — BA.4 and BA.5 — and after all key travel restrictions were removed.
The Public Health Ministry is monitoring the two subvariants as they are highly infectious and potentially harmful to patients after 181 cases were announced on June 24.
Gen Supote, who is also the National Security Council secretary-general, said one of the concerns was the number of patients suffering from lung infections that could be linked with the two mutated variants.
The number of seriously ill patients has restarted to gradually rise from 601 reported on Tuesday to 690 announced on Friday.
Starting on Friday, Thailand removed the requirement for foreign travellers to register Thailand Pass and purchase compulsory Covid-19 insurance prior to their arrival.
Unvaccinated visitors and those who have not received at last two doses are required to take PRO-ATK or RT-PCR tests 72 hours before they enter the kingdom.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand has advised air travellers on all flights to the country to wear face masks while on their flights.
On Friday, the CCSA reported that Thailand registered 16 more Covid-19 fatalities and 2,354 new cases during the previous 24 hours.