Songkran holiday eerily quiet after Covid mutes celebrations

Stock photo via Flickr

Thailand rang in another Lunar New Year, or Songkran, without its normal festivities, highlighting the impact that the Covid pandemic has had on the world. For the 2nd year, the biggest Thai holiday was subdued without water-splashing, parties, and concerts. Instead, the predominantly Buddhist nation turned to its more muted, traditional activities of making merit to observe the 3 day holiday, that started yesterday.

Morning time activities included followers offering alms and a bit of sprinkled water to show respect for Buddhist monks. But the monks wore plastic face shields, following pandemic precautions. Culture Minister, Ittipol Khunpleum, led officials and celebrants in what was called a “New Normal, Preserving Thai Culture” event at Wat Arun Ratchawararam.

The temple was open while others were partially closed because of the pandemic. Other normally bustling areas of Bangkok were also silent, as Songkran was cancelled due to what’s being described as a 3rd wave of Covid hitting the country in some media.

Dr. Opas Kankawinpong, the Disease Control Department director-general, recently warned that Covid-19 infections could shoot up 10-fold starting in May unless the government implements urgent measures to control new infections.

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“If we don’t do it right, in the next one month the spread will spin out of control – 9,000 new infections a day.”

Throughout Thailand, the government began shuttering night spots on April 6 in at least 41 of 77 provinces for at least 2 weeks, after a new wave of Covid swept the nation earlier this month. Just yesterday, Thailand reported 965 new infections. The number was the lowest in 13 days, but warnings of an even higher spike continue as the WHO says the pandemic has reached a critical level in South Asia.

The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken wished the people of Thailand “good health and happiness on the occasion of Songkran.”

“The United States of America is proud to recognise Thailand as one of our strongest and most enduring allies. We look forward to deepening our friendship with the Kingdom of Thailand even further.”

SOURCE: Benar News

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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