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Fri, 6 November 2020

Thailand, COVID19 and Shorter Quarantines - WHO Press Conference

The World Health Organisation (WHO) invited H.E. Anutin Charnvirakul (อนุทิน ชาญวีรกูล), Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Health, to speak about the Kingdom's remarkable success in controlling the spread of COVID19 at today's virtual press conference.

To date, Thailand has recorded 3,818 COVID19 cases and 60 deaths. The country has had very few local cases in recent months, with most of the latest cases being imported from other countries.

Khun Anutin used the WHO's press conference to explain how Thailand, the first country in the world outside of China to detect COVID19, has managed to contain the spread of the virus. He spoke of the strategies in place, how important the Intra-Action Review (IAR) has been to this success, and expressed his thanks to everyone in Thailand for their collective effort in curtailing the spread of the disease.

Besides Thailand's strengths, the IAR outlined areas for improvement. These include: better integrating COVID19 information, enhance surveillance systems by improving capacity to detect cases and improve the efficiency of emergency centres, and by advancing the digital data system.

On the left, H.E. Anutin Charnvirakul (อนุทิน ชาญวีรกูล), Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Health, with Dr. Tanarak Plipat, Deputy Director General of Thailand's Department of Disease Control on the right. Click to enlarge.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO), said, "Many countries heard our call back in January when we rang our highest alarm by calling a public health emergency of international concern. They worked closely with us and followed the parameters set out in the strategic response plan that WHO outlined on the 4 February. Theyve conducted reviews, shared data and experience and honed their response to their national experience and unique situation on the ground. As the pandemic unfolds, as countries have reflected, they have used Intra-Action Reviews to make their responses stronger. This kind of self-analysis review is what the world called for during World Health Assembly back in May."

By reviewing and adapting strategies and identifying what is working well and what needs to be strengthened, IAR gives countries the opportunity to more easily change the trajectory of the pandemic. To date, 21 countries have completed IAR and others are in the pipeline.

"By conducting reviews in real-time and sharing lessons to the world, these three countries [Indonesia, South Africa and Thailand] have reflected a blueprint for how countries can suppress COVID19 and break the chains of transmission. You can do exercises, you can do simulations, but the best time to look at your emergency response capacity is when an emergency is happening. That is when you can clearly see what works, what doesnt and what you need to improve. Theres hope and now is the time to double down on efforts to tackle this virus. Wherever a country is in terms of the outbreak, countries can turn it around by driving a whole-of-government and whole-of-society response. Its never too late," Dr. Tedros added.

During the press conference, Dr. Tanarak Plipat, Deputy Director General of Thailand's Department of Disease Control, answered a question about Thailand's quarantine regulations. Currently, all travellers arriving into the Kingdom must quarantine for 14 days. However, with tourism playing such an important role in the country's economy - accounting for approximately 20% of GDP - the government is under tremendous pressure to reopen borders and reduce the amount of nights in quarantine needed, if not to scrap it completely. Dr Tanarak explains how the country plans to reduce the mandatory quarantine period and gives some insights into how that will work. Watch the video below for more information. The full 83-minute press conference is available on the WHO's YouTube channel.

Thailand, COVID19 and Quarantine - WHO Press Conference on 6 November 2020

See also: Airports, Air Travel and COVID19 - Exclusive Video Interview with SITA's President of Asia Pacific, Sumesh Patel.

See latest Travel News, Video Interviews, Podcasts and other news regarding: COCOVID19, Thailand, Roi-Et, Sisaket, Ubon, Khon Kaen.

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