Songkran 'Save Parents' campaign aims to douse Covid-19

Songkran 'Save Parents' campaign aims to douse Covid-19

Thai people traditionally extend their best wishes to elderly people during the Songkran festival. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Thai people traditionally extend their best wishes to elderly people during the Songkran festival. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The Department of Health has asked children to avoid visiting their parents and elderly family members during the Songkran Festival -- known as Thai New Year -- to protect the highly vulnerable from Covid-19.

"We want to make sure that during Songkran, senior citizens are safe from Covid-19 transmission. So young people, who represent the country's largest disease carrier group, should participate in the "Save Parents" campaign, making them free from the deadly disease," Dr Panpimol Wipulakorn, secretary-general of the Department of Health, told media during a press conference to launch the campaign on Monday.

Under the "Save Parents" campaign, young family members are being asked to refrain from having physical contact or getting close to their elders, who are most vulnerable to the disease.

The campaign was launched to coincide with the Songkran Festival, which runs from the end of this week until next. Although the government cancelled national holidays and ritual water splashing events, Dr Panpimol said some people are still expected to return home and visit their parents, adding some might even defy the water splashing ban.

Dr Panpimol has pleaded with young people to refrain from visiting elderly parents, asking them to communicate online instead.

Those who live with elderly family members should refrain from physical contact, especially hugging, she said, adding they must also avoid splashing water on them.

According to the Ministry of Public Health, the risk from the coroanvirus rises with age. The mortality rate for patients aged 60-69 year from the disease is 0.7%. That figure rises exponentially to 10.5% for those aged 70-79, and 16.7% for those 80 and above.

Social interaction with their own family members is a primary cause for elderly infections, according to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

Approximately 35% of patients in Greater Bangkok aged 60 and above contracted Covid-19 from family members, 21% from friends, 16% from regularly frequented places (cafes, shops, etc), 22% from colleagues and the rest from unidentified sources, according to the CCSA's data, spanning from January to April 4.

A similar trend was found among elderly patients in the provinces. Some 49% contracted the virus from family members, 13% from friends, 14% from from regularly frequented places, 15% from colleagues and the rest from unidentified sources.

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