‘Rod Nam Dam Hua’ – pouring water on relatives’ hands – is a traditional part of Songkran celebrations that should be avoided to keep senior citizens safe from coronavirus infections, the Public Health Ministry has recommended.
Medical Services Department director-general Somsak Akkasilp on Sunday advised people returning home during the forthcoming Thai New Year break to avoid the ‘Rod Nam Dam Hua’ ceremonial water-pouring on parents and other respected senior family members to reduce their risk of infection.
Well-wishers should stay about one metre away from their parents and elderly family members and ‘krab’ (bow to them) instead of getting closer to pour water onto their hands for the new year’s blessing, the official said.
The country will have a five-day break during Songkran this year, running from Wednesday, 13th April, through Sunday, 17th April. Many People working away from home will return to their provinces to celebrate the event with their families.
The government will not impose a lockdown to ban their travel. It will roll out a nationwide vaccination campaign to give 70% of 12 million senior citizens a third jab from 21st-31st March to provide them better protection from the deadly virus.
So far, only 4 million people aged 60 or more – accounting for 32% of the total – have received a booster shot, according to ministry data on Saturday.
This sector of the population has suffered the most deaths from the pandemic. Sunday’s COVID-19 report showed 83% of the 66 deaths were senior citizens.