CCSA to discuss Songkran splashing rules today

To splash or not the splash? That’s one of the questions Thai government officials will be mulling today as they consider how to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 infections during next month’s Songkran festivities.

This year Thailand will take a 5-day break from April 13 to 1 in celebration of Songkran, or the Thai New Year, for the first time since 2019. The government cancelled the popular water splashing festival the past two years due to the pandemic.

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Although the festival has been given a green light, Songkran celebrators returning to their hometowns might find themselves splashing a little less water this year — and at farther distances — as the Public Health Ministry has proposed a “water splashing” ban yesterday.

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At today’s meeting, the Public Health Ministry, Culture Ministry and Tourism and Sports Ministry are due to present their health precautions and celebration guidelines for this year’s festivities. The CCSA will be asked to allow Songkran celebrations to be held according to the proposal.

It will include restrictions on traditional Songkran activities, which will only be allowed to take place in special areas with Covid-19 prevention measures in place. This includes merit-making and “rod-nam-dam-hua” or pouring water on the hands of respected relatives.

While the proposed guidelines may seem like a celebratory killjoy, they may be more lenient than an earlier recommendation from the Medical Services Department, which has said people returning to their hometowns during Songkran should avoid the “rod-nam-dam-hua” tradition completely to reduce the risk of infecting the elderly. Instead, the department has advised people to bow instead — from at least one metre away.

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The Disease Control Department will also propose its own set of precautions and measures at today’s CCSA meeting, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Ministry Anutin Charnvirakul.

Instead of imposing a travel ban this year, the government said it’s opting for a nationwide rollout of a third Covid shot for the elderly from March 21 to 31. The goal is to inoculate 70% of Thailand’s 12 million senior citizens before Songkran begins, the Bangkok Post reported.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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