For the first time in 2022, new cases, severe cases, ventilated cases and deaths have all shown a weekly decrease. The average number of new laboratory-confirmed (PCR positive) COVID-19 cases reported per day decreased by 34% in the past 7 days compared to the previous week, which reported a decrease of 5%. There is no sign of an increase in cases after Songkran and other recent holidays, and this fourth week of decreases may represent a true decline in community transmission of this Omicron variant driven COVID-19 fifth wave in Thailand. The average number of probable (ATK positive) cases reported per day over the last 7 days (9,994) decreased by 38%. However, reported ATK cases vary greatly, with recent weeks showing increases and decreases. Combining PCR confirmed and ATK probable cases (because not all ATK positive cases are subsequently confirmed by PCR testing), the likely reported ‘total’ daily case count (14,737) is approximately half that it was 7-days ago (27,635).
Bangkok continues to report the highest daily number of COVID cases, reporting a 7-day average decrease of 7.7% (3,092). This is a reversal of the previous week’s increase and continues the prior three weeks of declines in cases reported from Bangkok.
The reduction in new cases has seen the average daily number of all currently ‘active’ COVID-19 cases (145,405) over the last seven days decrease by 21% compared to the previous week (which showed a decrease of 16%). Most cases continue to be monitored in hospitels, community isolation and home isolation. The average number of COVID cases occupying hospital beds per day over the past week (37,735) decreased by 19%, the same proportional decrease as the week before. While decreasing, active cases remain high and double that of the 3rd Alpha variant driven COVID-19 wave in Thailand.
The weekly average of daily deaths has decreased for only the second time since the week to 25 January, decreasing by 14%. However, the daily average count of deaths remains high and above 100 deaths per day, decreasing to 108 from 126 average daily deaths reported in the week prior.
The average daily number of severe COVID-19 cases over the past seven days (1,773) accelerated the decrease over the previous week (4.7% to 9.3%). This is the second weekly decrease and the first consecutive two weeks of decrease in severe cases since early February. The average daily number of ventilated COVID-19 cases over the past seven days (827) has decreased 7.6%, the first decrease in ventilated cases since 1 February.
Although nationally new cases are decreasing the policy of not confirming all probable cases by PCR testing, as well as the widespread use of rapid antigen tests (including those available ‘over the counter’ that may not be reported), continues to make it difficult to accurately monitor actual case counts. From the data reported, the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant is clear, with 48% (2 million) of all cases (4.2 million) in Thailand reported in the last 4-months, which was the time when the Omicron variant started to dominate circulation.
Vaccination in Thailand continues to significantly reduce levels of severe illness and deaths caused by circulating COVID-19 strains. High vaccination rates also help to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. The COVID-19 situation in Thailand is improving, but there remains a long way to go reduce the burden of ventilated cases and deaths from COVID-19 in Thailand. In particular, vaccination rates are still low in some provinces and some important risk groups.
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