Thai Health Ministry Warns COVID-19 Infections Surge in January Due to Omicron

Thai Public Health Ministry officials have issued a warning on Monday of new COVID-19 infections surge early next year, driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant.

Health officials said new cases are projected at 10,000 to 30,000 in January, as the number of new Omicron cases soared five-fold, from 104 on Tuesday to 514 on Sunday.

Permanent Health Secretary Kiattiphum Wongrajit said Thailand could be facing at least 10,000 new patients and 70 fatalities a day in late January in the best-case scenario, while 15,000 new cases in the second-best projection.

Wongrajit explained that if Omicron infections quickly spike, the numbers could rise to 30,000 new cases and 180 deaths a day in the worst-case scenario.

In the three scenarios, Wongrajit said the ministry could bring the situation in best-case scenarios under control in one or two months but would need three to four months to control the situation in the worst outlook.

According to the ministry, the variant Delta still accounted for 56% of new cases in Thailand, but Omicron could take over very soon.

Director-General Opas Karnkawinpong of the Department of Disease Control said “a wider spread of the virus is expected after the New Year celebrations.”

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