Songkran celebrations allowed, but no water fights

Songkran celebrations allowed, but no water fights

People queue to pour scented water on Buddha statues at Wat Pho in Bangkok during the splashing-free Songkran festival last year. (Photo: Arnun Chonmahatrakool)
People queue to pour scented water on Buddha statues at Wat Pho in Bangkok during the splashing-free Songkran festival last year. (Photo: Arnun Chonmahatrakool)

Songkran celebrations will be allowed next month but drinking alcohol at events, foam parties, water splashing and powder smearing will be prohibited.

The decision was made at Friday's meeting of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Gen Prayut instructed all agencies to closely monitor the emergence of the Omicron coronavirus BA.2.2 subvariant, to follow up Covid-19 testing, the efficiency of vaccines in reducing the severity of the disease and responses to medication.

He said Covid-19 will not be declared endemic at this time. A supporting plan must be prepared in advance, he said.

The CCSA meeting agreed that Songkran celebrations could be held, but without alcohol at events. People should also refrain from foam parties, water splashing and smearing of powder paste on each other.

Activities such as sprinkling scented water on Buddha statues, pouring water on the hands of elderly people in seeking their blessing and other activities at temples could be held. All organised events must be in a Covid-free setting, the CCSA said.

Local and community celebrations should also comply with Covid-19 control measures and should not extend to public areas such as roads. People wanting to hold activities in public areas must get permission from appropriate agencies first.

The government has previously given an assurance that inter-provincial travel will be permitted during the festival.

Songkran this year is from Wednesday April 13 to Friday April 15, inclusive.

The CCSA also agreed to extend the enforcement of the emergency decree, which currently expires at the end of March, for another two months, until the end of May.

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