|COVID–19 NEWS||Malaysia, UK looking into COVID-19 cooperation | Social gatherings major contributor to recent COVID-19 case surge in Sarawak | Teachers' quick action prevents COVID-19 from spreading in Sabah school | Reopening of schools: Between worry and relief | Schools in nine Sarawak districts will remain closed for another two weeks ||
By Linda Khoo Hui Li
BANGKOK, Feb 22 – Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan o-cha will be the first Thai to be vaccinated with Sinovac Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine to help boost the public’s confidence over its safety and effectiveness.
Thailand has ordered two million doses of the vaccine developed by the Chinese pharmaceutical company and the vaccine will arrive in three batches - the first batch of 200,000 doses is scheduled to arrive at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on Wednesday morning, 800,000 in March and another one million in April.
“I am ready for vaccination,” he said as quoted by Bangkok Post.
Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul said Thailand is expected to start its COVID-19 vaccination exercise two to three days after its arrival on Wednesday as the Department of Medical Science needs to inspect the vaccine before the inoculation programme starts.
To date, Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to grant emergency use approval for China’s Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine.
Its secretary-general Dr Paisan Dankhum said the registration process is almost complete and should be ready once the first batch vaccine arrives on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Thailand will maintain its state of emergency over COVID-19 until March 31, in an effort to keep infections under control as the government further ease restrictions.
Prayuth who chaired today’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) general meeting approved the 10th extension of the nationwide state of emergency to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the CCSA general meeting today agreed to further ease restrictions as the COVID-19 situation in the kingdom continues to improve.
Restriction measures in Samut Sakhon, the epicentre of latest COVID-19 outbreak in the kingdom remain where educational institutions, entertainment outlets and sports venue remained closed while department stores can open until 9 pm.
For eight provinces under ‘controlled areas’ including Bangkok and Nonthaburi, all entertainment venues including pubs and bars allowed to open while restaurant can now serve alcoholic drinks. Besides that, schools, department stores and fitness centres will open as normal.
For all 54 “green” provinces, CCSA said all businesses and premises will open but must observe social distancing and avoid large crowd.
Meanwhile, Thailand recorded 89 new COVID-19 cases and zero fatalities over the last 24 hours, bringing the cumulative figures in the kingdom to 25,504 cases and 83 fatalities.
Of the 89 new cases, CCSA said 73 were local transmissions of which 59 cases were those seeking treatment at hospitals and 14 cases through active case detection, and 16 were imported cases.
CCSA assistant spokesperson Dr Apisamai Srirangsan said health authorities would continue to monitor closely the COVID-19 situation in Phatum Thani and Tak following new clusters found in these provinces.