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Reinstate face mask mandate, says top health official as Covid cases jump

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Covid-19 cases in Thailand have risen due to the faster-spreading Omicron BA.5 subvariant and the lifting of the face mask requirement in public, Chalermchai Boonyaleephan, Public Health Commission vice-chairman, said on Wednesday.

He said Covid-19 patients who developed lung inflammation and used respirators have increased to 727 and 318, respectively, up 20.7 per cent and 13.5 per cent compared to 602 and 280 on June 23 after Thailand lifted the face mask requirement.

He added that daily Covid fatalities have increased from 18 to 22, up 22 per cent.

Covid-19 restrictions should be eased to stimulate the economy and enable people to live as normal a life as possible, but the face mask mandate and booster vaccination drive should be retained to prevent an impact on economy and society, Chalermchai advised.

He said Omicron BA.5 is now the world’s dominant strain, which is spreading 35 per cent faster than BA.2.

Chalermchai pointed out that many countries are at risk of Covid-19 spreading due to an easing in restrictions, including doing away with the face mask mandate in public.

“In fact, economy and society can move on even with the face mask requirement,” he added.

Published : July 07, 2022

By : THE NATION