Plans are underway to treat COVID-19 as an endemic disease, after the Ministry of Public Health held discussions with government agencies and the industrial, tourism and commercial sectors.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said the collaborative plan aims to set medical, economical, social and organizational standards that will allow the general public to live safely with the virus. However, authorities may not be able to officially declare COVID-19 an endemic disease without an official classification from the World Health Organization.
The health minister said the endemic designation does not mean the disease is no longer dangerous, adding that the government will need to ensure that the healthcare system remains capable of handling emergency situations.
Dr Kiattiphum Wongrachit, permanent secretary of Public Health, said the number of new cases is expected to continue declining and more relaxed measures can be expected between late May and June.
He also said the health authority may consider reopening nightclubs, bars and karaoke venues, as well as lowering the alert level from 3 to 2. All of these proposals will require final approval from the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration.