The following is our weekly feature in which we highlight major new stories developing or coming in the next week in Thailand, Phuket, and Pattaya news.
This week, we focus on Sunday, July 3rd, to Saturday, July 9th.
Let’s get right into it shall we?
1. Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration delays decision to label Covid-19 as endemic, will meet on July 8th
Our only major story to watch in the next week is this one, which could have some possible ramifications on many things in Thailand.
Originally, the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration or CCSA had said they planned (but never promised) to label Covid as an endemic disease by July 1st, 2022.
Now, it’s worth noting that basically every major restriction including the hated Thailand Pass pre registration program and mask mandate have been lifted. There is one big exception, that is the emergency decree, and we will get to that in a bit.
The CCSA announced on Friday, July 1st, 2022, that after concerns from leading Thai doctors about labeling Covid-19 as endemic they have moved back a meeting widely expected to label the virus as so from yesterday, July 1st, to Friday, July 8th.
The major concerns, officially, about labeling the virus endemic are rising cases of Covid-19 driven by sub-variants with possible faster transmission in many areas across the globe. Notably, the hospital occupancy rate for Covid-19 overall in Thailand remains low, at 9 percent. The CCSA did say however that although there are no plans to strengthen any restrictions around Covid-19, that if hospital occupancy grew to 25 percent the CCSA may have to consider doing so again.
Unofficially, government critics have accused the government of being reluctant to label the virus as endemic as it would then leave seemingly little reason for the government to retain the emergency decree in place since early 2020 that grants them extraordinary powers. The Thai government denies this and says the decree has nothing to do with decisions to label Covid-19 as endemic.
Regardless of the reasons, for now labeling Covid-19 as endemic is delayed and we will give further updates on the situation next week.