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Monks, police, health dept help Chon Buri Covid-19 success



FILE PHOTO: After over 100 monks gathered to pray away the Covid-19, Chon Buri saw a significant reduction.

Covid-19 infections have decreased significantly in Chon Buri province which was recently downgraded from the highest Covid-19 restriction zone, but what was the key to their success? Law enforcement and public health officials each have their own opinion, but a group of Buddhist monks that hosted a massive prayer session believe that they successfully prayed away the Coronavirus.

After receiving proper permissions and implementing strict Covid-19 safety measures and social distancing, over a hundred monks gathered in prayer activities at Wat Chai in South Pattaya. The event was meant to ward off Covid-19 infections through prayer, but also to help motivate the strongly Buddhist Thai people. Leaders of the prayers believe that the ceremony brought good karma and good luck to Pattaya City and Chon Buri province and was instrumental in the decline of Covid-19 in the area.

While the prayer group may have been an inspiration for residents, Pattaya City law enforcement had a different theory on why Coronavirus infections decreased. They believe their work in enforcing strict health and safety guidelines was the driving force behind the area’s success. Police closed entertainment venues, bars, and restaurants with drinking and stopped people from gathering on the beaches and in private homes, reducing the outbreak by curbing locations that normally drew a crowd where Covid-19 could easily spread.

Police have made multiple arrests during the past few weeks for people violating these strict bans, drawing frustration from critics angry at very small private functions and even beach gatherings of only a few people being broken up. But law enforcement believes the daily reminders and strict policing under threat of harsh penalty has hampered the ability of Covid-19 to spread.

From another perspective, officials from the Chon Buri Public Health Department believe that the province’s success in reducing Covid-19 infections comes from citizens working together to participate in health and safety measures. People wearing masks and socially distancing, avoiding crowds, following guidelines, even working from home when possible have helped to wrangle in Coronavirus spread.

Thousands of Covid-19 in Chon Buri tests every day focusing on high-risk sectors like public transportation, shopping centers, construction sites, and areas where people work closely with the public have helped to identify and isolate new cases. Mass vaccination is planned to begin tomorrow in hopes of reaching herd immunity by vaccinating 70% of the community before reopening international borders in October.

They say when all you have is a hammer every problem looks like a nail. The viewpoints and response to Covid-19 outbreaks in Chon Buri serves as a good example of different organisations each believing their work was the key to affecting positive change using the tools available to them.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News


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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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