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Thailand’s Ministry of Interior urges tight Covid enforcement during Songkran

Tara Abhasakun

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The Permanent Secretary of Thailand’s Ministry of Interior is calling on provincial governors to “rigidly enforce Covid-19 restrictions” during the looming Songkran annual break. The Permanent Secretary, Suthipong Julcharoe, also suggested 10 “Universal Prevention” methods. These include frequent handwashing 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, need local authorities’ permission before they can commence. He added that alcohol, public water splashing, and playing with powder are strictly prohibited during any of these organised events.

“Event organisers must conduct a self-evaluation through the Thai Stop COVID 2 Plus website”.

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

Last month, Public Health Minister Anutin “suggested” Thais completely skip alcohol during Songkran, and focus on family and “traditional religious activities”. That has been the general tone of Thai officials as they try and steer the course between celebrating the annual Thai new year and trying to mitigate any increase of Covid infections during the break.

Meanwhile, hotspots for Songkran parties in Bangkok have seen businesses cancel event plans due to the tight measures due to the almost impossible restrictions that prevent any of the ‘usual’ party-style water events in the tourist hot spots.

The president of the Khao San Road Business Operators Association said last week that strict rules for businesses pose too much of a risk for many of them to host celebrations. The restrictions include an alcohol ban, having to provide free face masks to partiers if their masks got wet, and being held responsible if partiers take off their masks.

(Imagine water fights with a wet face mask…)

On Friday, an advisor to the CCSA said Thais should also avoid hugging and kissing elderly people.

The Thai government has embarked on a cautionary fear campaign leading up to this year’s Songkran celebrations in the hope that Thais would limit their travels and celebrations for the 2022 Songkran.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News | Nation Thailand

Thailand's Ministry of Interior urges tight Covid enforcement during Songkran | News by Thaiger

 

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    A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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