The average number of new laboratory-confirmed (PCR positive) COVID-19 cases reported per day decreased by 8% in the past 7 days compared to the previous week, but remains very high. This is the first weekly decrease for some time; however, it is too early to know if this is the start of a decrease in cases, and there are concerns that there could be an increase in cases after Songkran. While confirmed cases decreased, the average number of probable (ATK positive) cases reported per day over the last 7 days (21,031) increased by 17% compared to the week before (17,912). As not all probable (ATK positive) cases are subsequently confirmed by PCR testing, the likely ‘total’ daily case counts remain high. Although Thailand has not experienced the same degree of an upsurge of COVID-19 cases as seen in some other countries, cases including severe, ventilated and deaths have increased substantially since the beginning of the year.
Bangkok continues to report the highest daily number of COVID cases, although continuing the previous weeks’ slight decline in new cases. The average number of new COVID-19 cases reported per day for Bangkok in the past week (3,167) is 5% lower than the week prior (3,322).
The average daily number of all currently ‘active’ COVID-19 cases (247,112) over the last seven days decreased by 2% compared to the previous week. Most cases continue to be monitored in hospitals, community isolation and home isolation. The average number of COVID cases occupying hospital beds per day over the past week (63,979) increased by just 0.2% compared with the week prior (63,875), continuing the steady upward trend in average bed occupancy from early March.
An average of 98 daily deaths were reported in the past week compared to 92 for the previous week, an increase of 6.5%. While this represents a slowing down in the rate of increase of new daily deaths, it continues the steadily increasing rise in deaths that have occurred since January.
The average daily number of severe COVID-19 cases over the past seven days (1,949) represents a 7% increase over the average number reported for the previous week (1,821). The average daily number of ventilated COVID-19 cases over the past seven days (826) represents a 12.5% increase over the average number reported for the week prior (649).
The daily high COVID-19 case numbers continue to cause a significant increase in the number of severe and ventilated cases in hospitals in Thailand. Although the number of seriously ill COVID-19 cases remains lower than the peak in August 2021, both severe and ventilated cases, have been steadily climbing, with ventilated cases increasing faster and just 24% below their highest ever reported levels of August 2021. Despite these increases, there remains capacity in the healthcare system to admit patients. The policy of not confirming by PCR testing for all probable cases, 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 the situation. However, from the data reported, the increasing transmissibility of the Omicron variant is clear, with 45% (1.7 million) of all COVID cases (3.9 million) in Thailand reported in the last 3-months from 1 January 2022, which was the time when the Omicron variant started to dominate circulation.
Even with the current high case burden of COVID-19, vaccination rates in Thailand continue 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. However, vaccination rates are still low in some provinces and some important risk groups. The CCSA reported that of the 105 deaths reported on 11 April, 97% were in vulnerable groups, including 81% that were over 60, and that 94% had not received a booster vaccination that studies in Thailand and internationally show to be highly effective against preventing severe disease against the Omicron variant of concern.
Source: World Health Organization