Public Health Ministry threatens ban on fairs over Covid risk

Public Health Ministry threatens ban on fairs over Covid risk

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A banner reading "Today's concert cancelled" is seen at Sri Narong Stadium, the venue for a concert due to be held as part of the Elephant Fair in Surin. (Photo from Chang Fair Surin Facebook account)

The Public Health Ministry issued a stern warning on Sunday that all fairs and other events held throughout the country may be banned if organisers lower their guard against Covid-19.

Permanent secretary for public health Kiattiphum Wongrajit said all activities with large crowds of people must be held in line with the strict measures to prevent the possible spread of the coronavirus approved by the provincial communicable disease committee.

The committee chaired by the provincial governor can order all ongoing events to stop and prevent all future events from taking place if they pose health risks to the public, he added.

The warning came after Surin abruptly cancelled the concerts on Saturday and Sunday at the Elephant Fair after concert-goers packed the shows on Friday. Other provinces are also planning similar fairs to celebrate the new year.

"The organisers of the concerts did not follow the measures set by the Public Health Ministry. If they are able to improve their compliance, the provincial communicable disease committee may allow the concerts to resume," Surin governor Suwapong Kitipatpiboon said on Saturday.

The shows at Sri Narong Stadium are a highlight of the annual fair being held in Muang district from Dec 15-26. All activities in the event are organised by Thanakorn Promotion, according to the fair's Facebook page.

The governor gave the Pattaya Music Festival as an example for the organisers in Surin to follow as the resort city limited the number admitted to the venue and planned seating arrangements that kept a safe distance between concert-goers.

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