Anti-Covid measures are also effective against other diseases, says leading virologists


Dr Yong Poovorawan, a virologist from Chulalongkorn University, says that measures imposed to deal with Covid-19 had also been effective in stopping the spread of influenza and other respiratory contagions, and also digestive diseases. 

Dr Yong is regarded as one of the country’s leading experts on H5N1 avian influenza, having fought the 2004 bird flu outbreak by sequencing and aiding detection of the virus. 

Studies in Taiwan and Singapore showed that cases of respiratory disease had decreased by around 50 percent over the past few months, compared to the last three years, said the Emerging Infectious Disease (EID) journal. 

Since the Covid-19 outbreak, there have been far fewer reported cases of both influenza and patients with severe respiratory complications, the virologist said on Facebook on Tuesday (April 28). The phenomenon has also occurred in Thailand, he added. 

Furthermore, he said, cases of hand, foot, and mouth disease caused by the coxsackievirus A-16 would not be seen among children when schools reopened. 

The doctor added that the drop in flu cases meant health budgets had been saved and could now be spent helping current patients. 

Covid-19 preventive measures in place in Thailand include the lockdown, social distancing and hygiene advice to wear face masks and wash hands frequently.