Songkran and Covid-19: Water festival to go ahead, despite being terrible for spread of virus
The Department of Public Health has warned the government that the upcoming Songkran festival due to be held next month could be disastrous for efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus/Covid-19.
The festival – something that has become a national free-for-all water fight in recent years – can’t just be cancelled, said officials at a meeting of top level ministers.
This is because Songkran is a “People’s Festival” celebrated nationwide.
On Tuesday, Tourism Authority of Thailand chief Yuthasak Supasorn said at this moment in time, the Songkran festival will go ahead as planned, although some events might be scaled back, while organisers may cancel some events of their own accord.
As well as the coronavirus, the severe drought that Thailand is facing may also impact Songkran celebrations, Mr Yuthasak said.
The close proximity of people with physical contact could provide a perfect chance for the virus to spread.
PM’s office minister Tewan Liptaphallop said that the government was “very concerned” for people’s health at Songkran and during other events due to be held in April and May.
The health department has therefore been ordered to come up with guidelines for the people about how to celebrate Songkran this year.
The meeting at the end of last week heard that future developments in the crisis could not be accurately predicted.
If things got worse major events may need to be cancelled and for now it was better not to organize much and adopt a wait and see approach.
One event that could be chopped is a large merit making gathering at Sanam Luang. An alternative could be to arrange smaller events at government department offices instead.
Other events are also due to be held in April and May and these too will need to be assessed as to how they proceed.
The Thai MotoGP, Bangkok Motor Show and the Thai football league have all been postponed due to the coronavirus.