Covid won't stop Songkran this year

Covid won't stop Songkran this year

Green light from PM, but vigilance needed

Bangkok's Khao San Road is quiet on the Songkran Day in April last year. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)
Bangkok's Khao San Road is quiet on the Songkran Day in April last year. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)

Songkran celebrations will go ahead next month after a two-year hiatus due to Covid, the government has said while adding that health and safety measures will still need to be followed.

Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana on Tuesday said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has given assurances that all related activities and inter-provincial travel will be permitted during the Songkran festival from April 13-15.

But during celebrations, the public must comply strictly with "Vuca" -- Vaccine, Universal Prevention, Covid free-setting and ATK testing -- measures, Mr Thanakorn said.

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) will meet on March 18 to discuss public health safety measures for the Songkran holidays.

Gen Prayut has strongly suggested everyone planning to enjoy the water-throwing festival at least get a third vaccine dose and undergo an ATK test both before and after their travels.

Mr Thanakorn said Gen Prayut also urged vulnerable groups -- those aged 60 and above, people with underlying illnesses and pregnant women -- to be fully vaccinated ahead of the festival.

The spokesman said Gen Prayut was concerned that certain events could heighten the risk of Covid-19 transmission, especially family gatherings, water pouring rites and live entertainment.

People must remain vigilant and practice preventive measures, such as social distancing, wear face masks and regularly wash their hands, Mr Thanakorn said.

Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Department of Disease Control, said Covid-19 infections may have reached their peak as the infection rate, detected by RT-PCR and ATK tests, has declined in the past 2-3 days. So far, the infection rate in many countries including Thailand has not reached 60-70% of their population, Dr Opas added.

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