2nd Covid-19 wave may be powerful, ministry warns

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The Ministry of Public Health warned that a possible second wave of Covid-19 could be the first due to public recklessness and a change from hot to rainy season. 

The situation in Thailand is now considered controllable as more than 50 per cent of provinces haven’t reported a new case in the last 28 days, which allowed the government to relax a temporary ban on six business and activities.  

However, thousands have traveled to other provinces since the lockdown eased.  

That has led to concern at the Department of Disease Control that Covid-19 infections could double in two weeks. 

Bureau of General Communicable Diseases director Dr Sopon Iamsirithaworn said the chances of infection can spread again as more people meet, while activities such as eating in group or drinking alcohol can all increase the risk. 

There is also concern that a second wave could be stronger than the first. 

When the Spanish flu epidemic hit the world in 1918, most countries coped well in the first wave. But in some countries, the second wave was far more severe as people there were less conscious about disease prevention.  

Experts from the World Health Organisation and in Thailand have suggested that the country cannot underestimate the possibility of a second wave of Covid-19 returning. 

The most important things to keep are keeping a safe distance to other people, wearing masks, often washing one’s hands, and avoid touching your face, eyes or mouth. 

4 warning signals 

The Ministry of Public Health is closely monitoring the situation and looking for these warning signs that may signal a second outbreak: 

  1. All respiratory illnesses must be investigated immediately to find the cause of the disease.
  2. Monitoring the proportion of people diagnosed with Covid-19.
  3. Monitoring the behaviour of people to see that they are strictly abiding by rules on self-protection such as wearing masks, constantly washing their hands, and keeping a safe distance from others when entering a community or using public services.
  4. Closely looking at the number of patients that could rise in the next few weeks.

“Taking personal safety precautions will help reduce the risk of a second outbreak,” Sopon advised.  

Thailand currently stands between the first wave and the second wave not only due to public carelessness but also the upcoming rainy reason. For this reason, a number of patients suffering from breathing disorders typically enter hospitals, but these cases may initially confuse physicians as to whether they are Covid-19 related or not. 

Yala province, for instance, found 40 cases that were believed to be Covid-19 related, but after a second test, these cases came back negative.  

The Ministry of Public Health ordered all Covid-19 test samples sent to the Medical Science Department to ensure accurate and faster results.