Thai Interior Ministry calls for strict Covid enforcement during Songkran

The permanent secretary of Thailand’s Interior Ministry is calling on provincial governors to “strictly enforce Covid-19 restrictions” during the impending annual Songkran break. Permanent Secretary Suthipong Julcharoe also proposed 10 “universal prevention” methods. These include frequent hand washing and not touching your face, as well as vulnerable groups staying at home. Suthipong also suggested “double masking” (wearing 2 face masks).

Suthipong says events such as concerts, parties and ceremonies require permission from local authorities before they can start. He added that alcohol, public splashing and playing with powder are strictly prohibited at these organized events.

“Event organizers should complete a self-assessment through the Thai Stop COVID 2 Plus website.”

Suthipong said after celebrating Songkran, people should try to work from home, if they can, and observe Covid-19 symptoms for seven to 10 days. Thais across the country are currently returning to their home provinces for the Songkran holiday – the official holiday falls between April 13-15.

Last month, Public Health Minister Anutin “suggested” Thais to give up alcohol completely during Songkran and focus on family and “traditional religious activities”. That has been the general tone of Thai officials as they try to choose between celebrating the annual Thai New Year and trying to mitigate any rise in Covid infections during the break.

Meanwhile, hotspots for Songkran parties in Bangkok have seen businesses cancel event plans due to strict measures due to near-impossible restrictions preventing any of the ‘usual’ party-style water events in tourist hotspots.

The president of the Khao San Road Business Operators Association said last week that strict rules for businesses posed too much risk for many to hold celebrations. Restrictions include an alcohol ban, a requirement to provide free masks to revelers if their masks get wet, and liability if revelers remove their masks.

(Imagine water fights with a wet mask…)

On Friday, a CCSA adviser said Thais should also avoid hugging and kissing the elderly.

The Thai government has embarked on a fear-warning campaign ahead of this year’s Songkran celebrations in the hope that Thais will limit their travels and celebrations for Songkran 2022.

THE SOURCE: Pattaya News | Nation Thailand

Betty K. Park