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Songkran

Sawasdee pi mai – The four days of Songkran 2021

Tim Newton

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Despite the annual celebrations, water fights and parties being mostly side-lined this year, Songkran goes on for 2021, albeit in a much-subdued form. Many Thais have decided not to head home, but others have already headed out of the city centres to their homes to be with their families. They are being confronted with new restrictions and delays as they reach home province with many provincial officials now imposing quarantine or negative Covid tests to cross provincial borders.

And today, the Bureau of the Royal Household announced the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald will be closed from April 13 due to the current rise in new Covid infections. Other royal palaces are also closed until further notice including Bang Pa In Summer Palace.

Even airlines are having to stop their food and beverage services, again. A January CAAT ban was only lifted a month ago (but some of the discount airlines will still ferry you to your flight in a cramped bus!).

The best we can do for Songkran 2021 is be happy, smile at our Thai hosts on their special day, buy an outrageously colourful Songkran shirt from a road vendor and say Sawasdee Pi Mai to everyone we meet. Let’s do our best to add a few smiles to Songkran this year.

Here are some of the original traditions for the Thai New Year celebrations…

Tuesday, April 13 – Wan Sangkhan Lohng

On this day residents clean their houses in preparation of the New Year’s festivities. Many provinces have street parades and gatherings at temples or get-togethers at relative’s homes.

Wednesday, April 14 – Wan Nao

In preparation for the Buddhist celebratory merry-making the following day, people spend this day preparing cooked meals and preserved cuisine. Buckets of sand were commonly collected and brought into the temples to construct sand chedis, or sand shrines that are then decorated.

Thursday, April 15 – Wan Payawan

As the first day of the New Year, people would gather in the early morning at the wat to offer the food prepared the previous day along with new robes, fruit and other goods to the temple monks. In the past, this was the day where subdued water play began.

Friday, April 16 – Wan Paak Bpee

On the last day of Songkran, people paid their respects to their forebears and poured scented water over the hands of their elders who would then bless those taking part in the celebratory tradition known as rod ‘naam daam hua’.

Sawasdee pi mai - The four days of Songkran 2021 | News by Thaiger

 

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Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for nearly 40 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program, presented 3,900 radio news bulletins in Thailand alone, hosted 450 daily TV news programs, produced 1,800 videos, TV commercials and documentaries and is now the General Manager and writer for The Thaiger. He's reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha seeks looser restrictions in ‘red’ zones

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Photo via Facebook/ PR Thai government

Covid-19 infections are still high, but PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says he wants restrictions to loosen up and businesses to reopen as soon as possible in provinces classified as “red” zones under tight control to combat Covid-19.

The prime minister says he has ordered governors of red zone provinces to look into easing disease control measures. Looking into each province’s Covid-19 situation and the restrictions’ impact on the local economy, governors are told to find a good balance that works well for both the economy and public health.

Spokesperson for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, Taweesilp Visanuyothin, says restrictions at restaurants in red zone provinces can be lifted if the situation improves.

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha seeks looser restrictions in 'red' zones | News by ThaigerPM Prayut Chan-o-cha seeks looser restrictions in 'red' zones | News by ThaigerSOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Thailand

American leaves hospital after being denied Covid treatment in same room as Thai wife

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Photo via The Pattaya News

An American man, who tested positive for Covid-19, is back in the hospital after fleeing when he was denied a shared room with this Thai wife-who was also undergoing Covid treatment. The 51 year old man left the northeastern Amnat Charoen province Chanuman hospital on May 9th after doctors declined to move his bed to that of his wife’s room. The man angrily went home without permission.

He was spotted walking on the road by local residents before being found by police at his home. The medical team convinced him to return to the hospital. But the incident has invoked stress among locals as they fear he could have spread the virus when he left the hospital. Thai social media was flooded with angry posts about the incident, with some calling for his arrest or deportation. In response, the Chanuman district chief has announced they will tighten security at the hospital to prevent any future incidents that are similar in nature.

The man’s name was not given, due to his Covid-19 status, and it has not been announced whether he will face any consequences after his actions.

Meanwhile, Thailand is reporting 1,630 new Covid-19 cases and 22 coronavirus-related deaths over the past 24 hours. There are now 29,376 active Covid-19 cases. Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported 85,005 Covid-19 cases and 421 Covid-related deaths.

Out of the 22 deaths, most of the patients had chronic illnesses. Many contracted the virus from family members or close friends.

Most of the new cases were detected in Bangkok, particularly in districts with crowded communities and markets. While cases in Bangkok continue to be high, CCSA spokesperson Natapanu Nopakun says the number of new cases in most other provinces in Thailand is decreasing.

Health officials are rolling out proactive case finding campaigns in several high-risk communities, testing 9,000 to 10,000 per day, Nopakun says, adding that officials are working to provide the appropriate treatment as quickly as possible.

Those who test positive for Covid-19 and are asymptomatic must stay at an official field hospital for 14 days and then self-isolate at home for another 14 days.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid UPDATE: 1,919 new cases and 31 deaths, provincial totals

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Deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Natapanu Nopakun / Photo courtesy of the Royal Thai Government

1,919 new Covid-19 cases and 31 coronavirus-related deaths were reported today in the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily briefing. Thailand now has 29,435 active cases. Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported a total of 86,924 infections and 452 Covid-related deaths.

At today’s CCSA briefing, Ministry of Foreign Affairs deputy spokesperson Natapanu Nopakun said that while the Covid-19 situation in Thailand may seem like it is stable, with cases decreasing or at zero in many provinces, the number of new infections reported each day is not declining.

“Infections are still concentrated in the hotspot which is Bangkok and the vicinity where several new cases were detected in active case finding.”

Out of the 1,919 new infections reported today, 885 were in Bangkok. Since April 1, more than 20,000 Covid-19 infections have been reported in the capital, first with clusters in the swanky Thong Lor nightlife district and now in the Khlong Toey slum.

Natapanu says that, fortunately, no new clusters were reported in Bangkok over the past day. He says a minor cluster was reported at a wet market in Nonthaburi, a suburb just outside Bangkok.

Out of the recent deaths, many had pre-existing conditions of high blood pressure and diabetes. Many contracted the virus from infected family members.

To prevent the emergence of the Covid-19 variant that was first detected in India, Natapanu says foreign nationals travelling from countries with the widespread transmission of the mutated strain are temporarily barred from entering Thailand. Thai embassies in Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh, where the Indian variant is spreading, have suspended the issuing of the required Certificate of Entry, or COE.

Covid UPDATE: 1,919 new cases and 31 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

Covid UPDATE: 1,919 new cases and 31 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

 

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