On Sunday afternoon, officials in Chiang Mai reported hundreds of new COVID-19 infections and said they had been forced to cancel some of the planned celebrations for this week’s Songkran festival (Thai New Year).
The provincial public health office in the city said 281 new cases had been detected in the province, bringing the total number of confirmed cases since the beginning of this month to 664. Sunday’s figures were not included in the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration’s updates on Sunday and will be reflected in Monday’s nationwide report.
Chiang Mai’s new caseload on Sunday was the highest since the outbreak began seven days ago in the province, a favoured destination for both Thai and international tourists, particularly over Songkran. Many tourists had already cancelled their trips there.
Chiang Mai has ordered people travelling from Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan, Pathum Thani and Nakhon Pathom to register through the CM Chana app and observe self-quarantine for 14 days. It also closed all entertainment venues until 23rd April.
On Sunday, the province decided to cancel some of the functions planned for Songkran festivities and scaled-down others. The alms-offering ceremony planned for Tuesday at Tha Phae Gate were among the events being scrapped.
“We have to boost confidence for residents in the province and try to curd the spread of the virus,” deputy provincial governor Rattaphol Naradisorn said.
Health authorities in Chiang Mai asked people who recently visited 10 places connected to the latest outbreak to get tested for COVID-19. The venues are Warm Up Cafe Chiang Mai, DC Chiang Mai, Ground Consol’s Garden, Phor Jai bar, Valentine’s karaoke, Tha Chang cafe, Infinity Club, Living Machine, Tawan Daeng and Too Nice Nimman.
Tests are available at nearby hospitals, the provincial health office and the Chiang Mai International Exhibition and Convention Centre, authorities said.
The centre has been turned into a makeshift hospital to handle COVID-19 patients.