Virus axes Songkran festivities

State-sponsored and many privately run Songkran parties have been called off in Bangkok and other major cities due to Covid-19, City Hall and organisers said.

Among the casualties is the water-splashing festival in tourist-magnet Khao San Road.

Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) spokesman Pongsakorn Kwanmuang said the April 10-15 Maha Songkran celebrations due to be held in various districts of the capital will not take place this year.

One of the highlights would have been the procession of the Phra Buddha Sihing statue through Bangkok for people to sprinkle scented water on.

The BMA was also seeking cooperation from the private sector to cancel Songkran parties which pull in large crowds of water-throwing revellers. Pol Capt Pongsakorn said being surrounded by many people in a wet environment increases the chances of contracting the virus.

Pol Capt Pongsakorn said any private firms pressing ahead with arranging Songkran parties must prepare and put in place strict health screening measures for participants.

Jindarat Chayothin, a member of the BMA spokesperson team, said the BMA has postponed organizing meetings and seminars and put official overseas study tours by BMA officials on hold for the time being.

Meanwhile, Piyabutr Jeewaramonaikul, president of the Khaosan Business Association, yesterday announces the cancellation of the water-splashing festival there this year.

The famous Khao San Songkran celebration was also called off last year because of His Majesty the King's coronation.

Famous Songkran parties in Pattaya, Bang Saen, Khon Kaen and Patong beach in Phuket have already been cancelled .