Govt To Consider Highest Alert Level Over Monkeypox

On Monday, a committee of medical experts will meet to decide whether to impose the highest level of alert for monkeypox after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the virus outbreak a “global health emergency,” Public Health Ministry Anutin Charnvirakul said.

Mr. Anutin explained that the committee would define the measures to keep the monkeypox outbreak under control and discuss whether a high level of alert under the Thai public health system should be imposed. The announcement came after the WHO revealed that the disease had infected at least 16,000 people in 72 countries.

On Saturday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared monkeypox a “public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).” The label was designed to launch a coordinated international response to a potential health crisis and unlock funds to develop vaccines or other treatments.

Thailand recently reported its first monkeypox case after a Nigerian man tested positive for the disease. The tourist escaped the country but was caught in Cambodia on Friday.

Mr. Anutin said the government had ordered authorities to set up international communicable disease control checkpoints in border provinces to monitor and test people arriving from high-risk countries to avoid mass transmission.

Moreover, people traveling from nations categorized as high-risk by the WHO must now be screened at airports, with methods similar to those used against Covid-19, to verify if they have developed basic monkeypox symptoms, such as blisters or rashes on the skin.

The Public Health Minister also talked about a smallpox vaccine kept in storage, saying the Medical Science Department had examined the jab supply and determined that it could be administered against the disease if necessary.

The Department of Medical Services also found that people who test positive for monkeypox can be treated with medications currently available on the market, he added.

Mr. Anutin insisted that people should not panic or be overly nervous because monkeypox is not as infectious as Covid-19 and hospitals in Thailand are ready to provide treatment.

In the meantime, Thailand’s residents and visitors should follow universal prevention measures like social distancing and mask-wearing to avoid spreading the disease. All those who test positive for monkeypox should be quarantined in hospitals for treatment and further investigation in accordance with WHO guidelines, he went on.