The Thai Ministry of Public Health is closely monitoring the spread of the new XBB.1.16 COVID-19 sub-variant in India. It has not yet been detected in Thailand, according to Public Health Permanent Secretary Dr. Opart Karnkawinpong.
He said today (Thursday) that the dominant sub-variant in Thailand is currently BA.2.75, but the number of cases is dropping as XBB.1.5 and XBB.1.9.1 are on the rise.
Dr. Opart said that the XBB.1.16 is rising rapidly in India and is likely to emerge as the dominant sub-variant in the country, but there is no evidence that it is more severe than other sub-variants.
In Thailand, 150 new COVID-19 cases were reported between March 19th and 25th, averaging 21 new cases a day. 30 of them are suffering from lung infections, 19 require ventilators and six people have died.
He said that all the deceased were aged 60 or over, had a chronic disease, were pregnant women or weighed over 90kg. Most were not vaccinated or received their last vaccine dose more than three months ago.
The Public Health Ministry has launched a long acting antibody combination (LAAB) treatment for high risk people in shelters for the elderly, the bed-ridden and kidney patients requiring dialysis, adding that LAAB can help lower the mortality rate.
Dr. Opart said that COVID-19 is tending towards becoming a seasonal disease, like flu, which spreads during the rainy season. Hence the need for the Public Health Ministry to adjust its monitoring and preventive measures.