Thailand intends to manage COVID-19’s transition into endemic this year hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Photo: Bangkok Post)
Bangkok (NNT/VNA) - As Thailand battles its 5th wave of COVID-19 outbreaks, health authorities have announced they intend to manage the transition of COVID-19 into an endemic by delaying its spread and switching to the use of ATKs as the frontline screening method.

Public Health Ministry Permanent Secretary Kiatiphum Wongrajit said Thailand has entered the 3rd year of its fight against COVID-19, which was initially predicted to be dealt with and contained in manners similar to bird flu and SARS. However, the disease developed into a pandemic with recurring outbreaks, with Thailand having experienced large numbers of outbreaks from May to August of 2021.

Dr. Kiatiphum said that since then, vaccination has been rapidly undertaken and the country reopened to tourists as Thailand planned to co-exist with COVID-19 in order to allow its economy to progress. New infections have been dropping since, until the start of 2022 when the current wave resulting from a mutated coronavirus variant took hold.

Dr. Kiatiphum said public health authorities will be managing this wave of infections in a way that enables COVID-19 to transition into an endemic, as more people gain immunity.

Department of Medical Sciences Director-General Supakit Sirilak said at present, COVID-19 is not causing severe symptoms but transmissions are occurring more rapidly. This necessitates a shift of the disease screening method from the time-consuming and expensive RT-PCR test to the ATK (Antigen Test Kit) method, in order for resources to be better utilized.

Dr. Supakit added that billions of baht have been spent by the National Health Security Office (NHSO) on RT-PCR tests.

The director-general explained that from now on, individuals suspected of being infected will be tested via the ATK method and entered into home isolation (HI) or community isolation (CI) if they test positive and display mild or no symptoms of COVID-19. If symptoms increase, the RT-PCR test will be applied and the individuals will enter the treatment process.

Those testing negative but with a history of exposure to the virus are to self-quarantine and take an ATK test every 3 days, or 2 days after the latest test if symptoms increase./.