Government staff have come up with proposals for Songkran festivities, including a gentle alternative to the traditionally vigorous water splashing, amid continuing concern over the possible spread of COVID-19 during Thai New Year.
Apisamai Srirangson, an assistant spokeswoman for the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration, said yesterday the Tourism Authority of Thailand recommended that people wear face masks and limit their enthusiasm by gently pouring or spraying water on other people.
The Culture Ministry proposed that people concentrate on the more traditional activities of bathing Buddha images and extending Thai New Year greetings to senior citizens, along with unrestricted travel.
Songkran-related events should be organised outdoors, or in well-ventilated venues, Dr Srirangson said.
The ministry was opposed to water splashing, foam parties, the application of talcum powder and concerts – mainly, any activities that would attract crowds.
She added: “These ideas would allow activities during the Songkran festival and remain within the scope of disease control measures introduced by the Public Health Ministry. Water splashing will therefore be put on hold this year”.
“If the situation improves, full-scale Songkran happiness may return next year.”
She said the CCSA would consider tomorrow which activities to allow, and precisely which precautions should be applied.
COVID-19 prompted the government to cancel Songkran festivities last year to prevent people from gathering in a wet environment and increasing the chance of spreading the virus.
At the beginning of April last year, Thailand had reported only 1,771 COVID-19 cases, up by 120 in 24 hours, and the death toll was 12.
On Wednesday, the total number of COVID-19 cases was 27,402, up by 248 in 24 hours, and the death toll rose by one, to 88.