Health experts are trying to allay fears that new strains of coronavirus in China could be imported into Thailand.
Many countries have taken special measures as the world expects Chinese travelers to return, Morocco has even announced that they will be banned!
See: China reopens in January, Chinese tourists return soon
But Thai specialists call for an end to the Covid scare, saying the strains in China are less of a concern than the already dominant strain in Thailand.
On Facebook, Anan Jongkaewwattana, a virologist at the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, said that China is currently affected by highly transmissible Omicron strains, mainly BA.5.2 and BF.7, which are descendants of the BA.5 Omicron variant.
These two strains are responsible for more than half of the confirmed cases in China, he said.
The highly transmissible and immunoinvasive Omicron XBB.1.5 variant, which is rapidly becoming dominant in the United States, has also been detected in China, he added.
Interestingly, the Omicron BA.2.75 subvariant, which is now a dominant strain in Thailand, has yet to be detected in China.
“We are concerned that strains from China could be imported into Thailand (when the country reopens its borders).
“But BA.5.2 in China is not something new in Thailand, because we have already experienced it.
It’s already starting to fade (because BA.2.75 took it),” he posted.
“The BA.2.75 sub-variant in Thailand is more worrying,” he added.
Dr. Manoon Leechawengwongs, a pulmonologist at Vichaiyut Hospital, posted on Facebook that Thais should not panic about importing new strains of Covid-19 into China when China reopens its borders.
“Virus mutations can occur anywhere in the world.
We should treat and welcome Chinese travelers as our guests in the same way that we treat visitors from other countries,” he posted.
The National Committee for Communicable Diseases has said that screening will not be required at airports for now.
However, the committee expects new arrivals to present proof of vaccination and a suitable insurance policy.
But these documents are no longer required from other travelers since October 2022, so it could be considered discrimination.
Government officials will meet on January 5 to discuss whether it is necessary to re-implement some of the anti-Covid measures for all travelers.
See: Thailand could relaunch anti-Covid measures for travelers
Source: Bangkok Post