Many Thai medical experts are trying to reassure the public that the new strains of coronavirus in China are not as much of a concern as the current dominant strain in Thailand.
According to several Thai media outlets, many Thais are worrying that Chinese tourists will import a new strain of the coronavirus into Thailand after Beijing reopens its borders on Sunday.
To allay concerns, medical experts, including Anan Jongkaewwattana, a virologist at the National Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, came out to voice his opinion on Facebook, saying “We are concerned that the strains in China [BA.5.2] may be imported into Thailand.”
However, he added, “But BA.5.2 in China is nothing new in Thailand because we already experienced it. It is already starting to fade away [as it is being taken over by BA.2.75].”
Currently, China is struggling with the BA.5.2 and BF.7 strains, which are the descendants of the BA.5 Omicron variant and are very transmissible.
Nonetheless, according to Anan, “The BA.2.75 subvariant in Thailand is more worrisome.”
Meanwhile, another health expert Dr. Manoon Leechawengwongs, a pulmonologist at Vichaiyut Hospital, posted on Facebook that, “We should treat and welcome Chinese travelers as our guests in the same way we do to visitors from other countries.”
He added that, “Mutations of the virus can occur anywhere in the world, and we should not worry that Chinese tourists will bring it into the country. We should stop fearing Covid because we have to co-exist with it and receive regular booster shots of vaccines like we get an influenza vaccine.”
The pulmonologist also urges the public to maintain regular Covid-19 precautions, such as keeping their mask on in crowded areas, maintaining social distancing, and washing their hands regularly.
Join the discussion in our Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/438849630140035/or in the comments below.