Sweethearts urged to keep distance, mask up, abstain

Sweethearts urged to keep distance, mask up, abstain

Ahead of Valentine's Day, and with the Covid-19 outbreak, the Department of Disease Control (DDC) has released "New Normal New Safe SEX" guidelines, which also advise total abstinence.

The DDC is urging the public to practise responsible sexual behaviour to prevent transmission of HIV/Aids, sexually transmitted diseases, Covid-19 and unplanned pregnancies.

The guideline is made up of five practices that can prevent people from health risks. They are abstinence, use of condoms, being faithful, getting tests, and wearing face-masks. In a poster released by the DDC says "Safe sex is no sex", "New Normal safe sex", "One love", "Start condom" and "Testing together".

Opas Karnkawinpong, chief of the DDC, said as the Covid-19 pandemic is still around, sweethearts are encouraged to practice social distancing while celebrating Valentines' Day.

The safest way to celebrate the festival is to send cards, roses or gifts or chat via video-calls, he said.

Meanwhile, Culture Minister Itthiphol Kunplome yesterday denied the government was adopting double standards in its Covid-19 response after large crowds attended a mass prayer for the Trimurti at a shrine near the CentralWorld shopping complex on Thursday night.

The shrine is known to be popular among people seeking love and partnership with devotees making offerings such as red roses at the shrine on Thursday evenings.

Throngs of people flocked to make offerings before the triple deity of supreme divinity in Hinduism on Thursday ahead of the upcoming Valentine's Day, which sparked criticism that the assembly ban amid the Covid-19 pandemic seemed to apply to political activities only.

Mr Itthiphol said the disease control restrictions and guidelines applied to all types of gatherings and several government agencies had cancelled a number events that would have drawn large crowds and posed an increased risk of transmissions.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) had already cancelled the issuance of marriage licences at its 50 district offices on Valentines' Day, he added.

Feb 14 is typically considered an auspicious day for couples to tie the knot resulting in large queues at marriage registration offices across the city.

The Chinese New Year festival, which usually involves a parade in Bangkok's Chinatown, was also cancelled.

"We're concerned when an activity is organised, be it a cultural activity, a seminar or a political gathering. The Public Health Ministry always asks people to avoid crowds. We want the outbreak to be over as soon as March," he said.

Jessada Denduangboripant, a Chulalongkorn University lecturer who often takes to Facebook to post about current trends and popular culture, yesterday said people can visit the Trimurti statue at Empire Tower for good luck on any day.

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