Thailand plans to treat COVID-19 as endemic

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By Linda Khoo Hui Li
BANGKOK: Thailand’s Public Health Ministry is planning to treat COVID-19 as an endemic illness this year amid the ongoing battle against the fifth wave of the coronavirus infections in the country.
Foreign Ministry’s deputy spokesman Natapanu Nopakun said the Public Health authorities have announced their plans to effectively manage the COVID-19 outbreak as Thailand entered its third year fighting COVID-19.
“The Public Health authorities will be managing this wave of infections to enable COVID-19 transition to endemic as more people develop immunity,” he said at a press conference here, Friday.
Meanwhile, Director-General of the Disease Control Department Dr Opas Karnkawinpong said COVID-19 could only become endemic when the virus is less severe and manageable via higher vaccination rate. 
“We expect the disease will become endemic this year. It is not today or tomorrow. We will consider COVID-19 an endemic when its is controllable and the fatality rate is low.
“We are launching a public awareness (campaign) on how to live with COVID-19 as endemic disease,” he said.
He added that countries like United Kingdom and the United States also predicted that COVID-19 may become endemic.  
On Tuesday, the World  Health Organisation (WHO) warned against treating COVID-19 as an endemic rather than as a pandemic as the spread of the Omicron variant has not yet stabilised.
— BERNAMA