Cold water poured on fun at Songkran

Cold water poured on fun at Songkran

Splashing water in front of homes for the Songkran not allowed this year. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Splashing water in front of homes for the Songkran not allowed this year. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Revellers who gather to splash water in front of their homes for the Songkran festival will face legal action for defying the emergency decree during the coronavirus outbreak, according to the Royal Thai Police yesterday.

Spokesman Pol Lt Gen Piya Uthayo said while Songkran has been postponed due to Covid-19, some people could think gathering outside of their home would be permitted, but that would violate the decree.

Under the state of emergency, violators are liable to a jail term of up to two years and could be fined up to 40,000 baht.

The Culture Ministry has reiterated in a statement that Thais should skip the Rot Nam Dam Hua, a traditional New Year ceremony, to help prevent virus transmission.

The ministry said it is to protect elders who are prone to contracting the virus from younger family members.

Regarding Rot Nam Dua Hua, the ministry said Thais should avoid going to temples and bathe Buddha status at home instead, adding people should distance themselves and wear sanitary masks.

Rot Nam Dam Hua is a water-pouring ceremony accompanying Songkran, or Thai New Year. Rot Nam Dam Hua is a traditional rite for young people of showing respect to elders and asking for their blessing.

Defence Forces Chief Gen Pornpipat Benyasri, in charge of security at the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, has urged people to comply with government measures and prevent gatherings during the outbreak.

Nakhon Ratchasima governor Wichian Chantaranothai, head of the provincial communicable disease committee, said the committee has ordered the temporary closure of 29 natural reservoirs popular among locals until further notice.

Mr Wichian said the order was made to prevent coronavirus transmissions, noting the provincial Covid-19 figure stood at 18 as of yesterday.

He said checkpoints will be set up to screen people returning home to their respective provinces during Songkran via Nakhon Ratchasima, which serves as a gateway to the northeast region, he said.

Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the CCSA, yesterday said people who gather in crowds no matter the size during the state of emergency are liable to face legal action.

The warning came after reports of people stocking up on alcoholic beverages ahead of an impending sales ban in Bangkok and many provinces.

Mr Taweesilp said police would not hesitate to crack down on social gatherings.

Violators of the prohibition on social gatherings will be fined up to 100,000 baht and could be jailed for one year.

Songkran falls on Monday this year.

The government yesterday reported 50 new local cases of coronavirus disease 2019, raising the total to 2,473 over 68 provinces, and one new death, a woman with lupus, increasing the toll to 33.

The largest group of new infections was in Bangkok. Phangnga province reported its first case. Nine provinces remained free of Covid-19.

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