BangkokCoronavirus (Covid-19)Events

Covid precautions for New Year’s Eve in Bangkok

PHOTO: New Year's Eve events will be allowed in Bangkok but face masks will be required to avoid Covid outbreaks. (via Redbubble)

Nobody wants to hear it, but Covid-19 numbers are on the rise in Thailand, stoking governmental fears around the approaching New Year’s Eve festivities. Officials in Bangkok announced that New Year’s Eve countdown parties will be allowed to be thrown as planned, but face masks will be required wherever crowds gather.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration will be laying out clear guidelines for Covid safety and protocol ahead of the December 31 celebrations. Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt said yesterday that new year’s partygoers will be expected to follow these rules. He stressed that people considered high-risk should take particular care over the holiday.

Government officials also asked venues and event hosts to do their part as well. They urged venues to strictly adhere to the Covid measures, and consider reducing capacity at events to avoid dense crowds that could easily become superspreader events.

While there will undoubtedly be events all over the capital city for New Year’s Eve, only Central World has legal permission to throw something so far. Organisers and venues are required to file for a permit from City Hall if they intend to hold an event, and no one else has yet.

To attempt to decrease the chances of dangerous outbreaks during the New Year’s Eve festivities, the government is encouraging those who aren’t up to date on their vaccinations to get a booster shot. As the Thai-Japan Bangkok Youth Centre which is currently the main vaccination centre in Bangkok is often too busy, especially on weekends, authorities are arranging additional vaccination sites ahead of New Year’s parties.

Vaccination is key as the numbers show around 97% of new Covid cases are unvaccinated or under-vaccinated people who are considered high risk. With the year nearly finished, the government will likely fall far short of their vaccinations targets. They aimed to jab two million people between October and the end of December but have only finished 800,000 injections so far.

Covid has subsided considerably since the peak of the pandemic, but there are still significant risks of illness and death. A Nontha Buri temple announced they had cremated over 2,500 Covid patients since the pandemic started, and 60 bodies had been cremated since last month.

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Neill Fronde

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.