United Nations official praises Thailand’s pandemic response

The official who leads and coordinates all the United Nations agencies in Thailand praised the Kingdom’s response to the coronavirus pandemic last week, calling the country an example of resilience and solidarity.

“In January, Thailand became the second country to confirm a Covid-19 case but, since then, the country has shown remarkable resilience and, as of late July, there had not been any recorded cases of domestic transmission for nearly two months,” wrote Gita Sabharwal, the U.N. Resident Coordinator in Thailand, on her official blog.

Thailand has largely succeeded in containing the coronavirus. The Kingdom had detected 3,378 cases with 3,194 recoveries as of August 17, 2020. Public health officials have warned, however, that a second wave of infections is probable and that the country needs to remain on guard.

Sabharwal cited several reasons for Thailand’s success in stemming the spread of Covid-19. She was especially impressed with “the role played by the 1 million health volunteers, two-thirds of whom are women, in contact tracing across the country. It speaks to the whole of society approach.”

The U.N. Resident Coordinator is the top U.N. official in a country and oversees and synergizes the work of all U.N. agencies operating in that country, such as UNICEF, UNAIDS, UNESCO and the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Our immediate health response focuses on supporting the government to strengthen surveillance and laboratory capacity, as well as to facilitate private and public sector engagement on vaccine research and pilot a “new normal” health service through tele-medicine,” Sabharwal wrote.

While she noted that the economic impacts of the pandemic have been disadvantageous, she also said that “the government’s stimulus packages have been comprehensive, rapid and well-sequenced, constituting 15 percent of GDP.”

“We have seen in Thailand and around the world that times of crisis bring out the best of people. Covid-19 presents unprecedented challenges, but also opportunities to build back better,” she wrote.

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