Work from home to avoid surge after Songkran, department says

BANGKOK: The Ministry of Public Health is urging businesses and organizations across all sectors to instruct their employees to work from home for seven days, to prevent COVID-19 infections from rising sharply after the holidays. Songkran.

Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong train station is jam-packed with those returning from their home provinces on the last day of the Songkran holiday. Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul

“Once the Songkran festival ends, the number of cases could increase by 20 to 30 percent,” Chakrarat Pittawawonganon, director of the epidemiology division of the Department of Disease Control, said yesterday (April 17).

He urged state agencies and private sector companies to implement a 5-7 day work-from-home policy, in addition to regular antigen testing, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 on businesses. workplaces, reports the Bangkok Post.

He stressed the importance of booster shots for people in high-risk groups, such as people aged 60 and over, people with chronic illnesses and pregnant women.

To date, only 37% of those in these groups have received a booster shot, well below the government’s target of 60%, Dr Chakrarat said.

Meanwhile, Supot Malaniyom, Secretary General of the National Security Council and Director of the Operations Center of the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), said the agency would meet this week to assess trends in infection after the holiday season.

Supot said the CCSA will use this information to decide its next steps. That said, all actions taken will be aimed at achieving the goal of declaring COVID-19 an endemic disease in July.

The meeting will also discuss the readiness of schools to reopen for the new term, as well as a possible review of travel restrictions by land, sea and air, he said.

Supot urged everyone to strictly adhere to disease control measures once they return from vacation and undergo regular antigen screening to avoid another mass outbreak.

He said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had also instructed the Ministry of Public Health, provincial communicable disease committees, as well as the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and local administrative organizations to step up testing and ensure sufficient isolation facilities are available in the event of a surge. .

Yesterday, 17,775 new infections were reported across the country. While 24,545 people were discharged from hospital yesterday, 214,554 patients are still receiving COVID treatment.

Maria D. Ervin