Ayutthaya cancels activities

Ayutthaya cancels activities

AYUTTHAYA: All activities to mark the Songkran festival in this former capital city from tomorrow until Thursday have been cancelled after a recent hike in Covid-19 cases.

Panu Yaemsri, provincial governor, issued an urgent announcement yesterday to inform the public -- particularly tourists -- that the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)'s Ayutthaya office and the provincial Songkran committee had decided to cancel the elaborate activities planned for Si Sanphet Road.

The abrupt cancellation -- just one day after the activities scheduled for April 13-15 were announced -- was necessary because the Covid-19 situation in Thailand was deteriorating, Mr Panu said.

In Ayutthaya, 21 new Covid-19 infections were found on Saturday afternoon, raising the province's tally to 86. This led to the decision to cancel.

Ayutthaya Hospital on Saturday issued an announcement restricting visits to patients. Only one relative is allowed for each patient. Relatives are advised to video-call patients instead.

Many people say they plan to skip Songkran festival activities or are uncertain whether to join them while the number of Covid-19 infections is on the rise, according to an opinion survey by Suan Dusit Rajabhat University, or Suan Dusit Poll.

The poll was conducted online among 1,324 people throughout the country on April 3–9 to sound out their opinions after the government announced that while the traditional aspects of Songkran should be maintained, the "new normal" practices to prevent Covid-19 from spreading must be observed.

Asked whether they would take part in locally-organised activities, 43.8% said no; 33.3% were uncertain; and 22.8% said they would join in.

Asked what they would do to maintain the Songkran tradition during the pandemic, with each respondent allowed to choose more than one answer, 64.8% would perform a rod nam dam hua ceremony for elderly people in their families only; 63.2% would stay home and spend the time with family members; 53.6% would make merit by giving alms to monks; 52.5% would bathe their own Buddha statues; and 37.6% would conserve Thai traditions.

On individual spending during this year's Songkran, 55.8% said it would not be over 3,000 baht; 25.4% said it would be 3,001–5,000 baht; and 18.6% said it would be over 5,000 baht. The average expected expenditure was 4,183.57 baht.

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