Thai water festival called off to curb COVID-19

BANGKOK, March 14 — Thailand’s annual water festival, Songkran will literally be washed out this year as public celebration of the popular festival has been cancelled to avoid mass gatherings in the effort to contain COVID-19 outbreak in the kingdom.

Thais celebrate Songkran, the traditional new year from April 13 to 15 by splashing water on each other under the scorching sun and visit temples to pray and make offerings.

Popular backpacker district of Khaosan Road in the Thai capital called off its celebration to prevent the spread of the virus. Every year, thousands of tourists join locals in splashing water and other activities along the popular district.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) also announced it will not organise Songkran events and activities under its jurisdiction.

BMA also urged the private sector in the district to avoid organising celebration activities to stop mass gatherings.

Besides that, celebrations in Chiang Mai, Patong beach in Phuket, Hat Yai and Khon Kaen are also cancelled to reduce the risk of infection.

Meanwhile, Thai Public Health Ministry permanent secretary Dr Sukhum Kanchanapimai said Thailand today confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, bringing the tally to 82.

The seven new cases including a 41-year-old Thai actor and a 63-year-old woman who had close contact with a COVID-19 patient.

He said the other new cases included four from a family of a 57-year-old woman who visited Japan.

”The woman’s daughter, 30, son-in-law, 33, and granddaughter, 4, were tested positive for COVID-19,” he said at a COVID-19 daily briefing here today.

He added another new case included a 20-year-old female student who returned from Japan.

To date, Thailand has recorded 82 COVID-19 cases with one fatality and 46 patients are still being treated in hospitals while 35 have been discharged.

Meanwhile, the Royai Thai Embassy in Kuala Lumpur urged all 132 Thais who attended the tabligh (missionary) convention at Masjid Jamek Sri Petaling in Kuala Lumpur to undergo screening at nearby hospitals.

It was reported that 30 participants each from Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat and another 42 from the other provinces of the kingdom had attended the event.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency