Thailand can learn from Australia on living with Omicron: Expert

He has praised Thailand’s ability to cope with the pandemic and opening for international travel to restore pre-Covid normalcy.

The Nation

The Nation



February 10, 2022

BANGKOK – Thai pulmonary disease expert Dr Manoon Leechawengwongs has praised Thailand’s ability to cope with the pandemic, the Omicron virus, and open for international travel to restore pre-Covid normalcy.
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Thailand can learn from Australia on living with Omicron, says medical expert
He said Australia was a country that had been successful in controlling Covid-19 with lockdowns and closure of the country from March 2020.

But after vaccinating 95 per cent of the country’s population aged above 16 years, and even prior to the Omicron outbreak in Australia, intensive measures to control the coronavirus have been changed. It is marked by coexistence with Covid-19 for the economy, society and education, he said.

In December 2021, there was a relaxation of measures with mandatory wearing of mask. Gatherings for Christmas and New Year were allowed and bars were allowed to open. Students and businessmen from abroad were advised to do antigen testing at home when symptoms were present. Positive results must be reported to the state.

The New Zealand government has already stopped searching for close contacts with infected people.

Australia has a population of 25 million. Before relaxing the lockdown measures, approximately 210,000 people were infected and 2,000 died.

After reopening the country in early December 2021, there are currently 2.75 million confirmed cases and 4,200 deaths. As of January 13 this year, Australia had the highest number of 150,000 cases/day, but only a few were seriously ill or dead. The public health system could still handle it, he said.

Now the daily number of infected people has dropped to 23,000.

The Omicron outbreak has not led to a lockdown again The previous lockdowns caused enormous economic damage with Australia’s GDP contracting by more than 20 per cent, he said.

Australia has confirmed it is reopening and will allow travellers from all countries who are fully vaccinated to enter the country from February 21. Most Australians agree with the government’s guidelines, he said.

“Thailand should study the guidelines for opening the country from Australia. We have to learn to live with Covid-19,” said Dr Manoon. “Omicron strains are highly contagious. Sooner or later, almost all Thai people will be infected. We cannot defeat the Omicron strain. At this time, we should relax more measures, especially regarding foreign travellers.”

He urged people to strictly follow personal hygiene measures, wear masks, maintain social distance, and wash hands regularly.

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