Local media cited the official as saying on April 15 that Thailand has the expertise to closely monitor vaccine information, and the decision is made basing on scientific knowledge.
Thailand kicked off its COVID-19 inoculation campaign on February 28, with people of high-risk groups like medical professionals and those with close contact with patients among the first in the queue to receive vaccinations.
Thailand plans to use the AstraZeneca vaccine and the CoronaVac developed by China-based Sinovac Biotech to inoculate about 35 million people or 50 percent of the population – the target it aims to achieve by the end of this year.
Since April 1, the third wave of coronavirus infections has spread to 75 of the 77 provinces in Thailand, and only the southern provinces of Ranong and Satun have yet to record any cases in this latest outbreak.
Speaking after a meeting of the national committee on communicable diseases on April 15, Minister Charnvirakul said Thailand can overcome the current COVID-19 crisis without imposing a nationwide lockdown.
He noted the cycle of disease has only been two weeks, and the government has had good cooperation from all stakeholders.
The committee decided to suggest the government ban the drinking of alcohol in restaurants nationwide and forbid mass gatherings, including asking schools and universities nationwide to conduct all their courses online. It also concluded that Bangkok capital and 17 other provinces should be classified as ultimate control (red zone) areas.
On April 16, the country reported 1,582 new COVID-19 cases, the highest daily number since the pandemic began. That brought the total so far to 39,038, with 97 fatalities./.