Thailand News Today | Songkran This Year: What You Can and Can’t Do

no foam parties or powder sprawls will be allowed in Bangkok during Songkran next month, but when it comes to splashing water during Thai New Year, the rules are a bit vague.

Quote without quotes “Traditional water sprinkling” is allowed, but officials haven’t clarified what exactly that means.

Bangkok’s Communicable Diseases Committee has decided to allow “water sprinkling” in specific areas that have requested permission, and organizers must adhere to the “Covid Free Setting” measures established by the CCSA, which include typical social distancing, mask wearing and abstinence.

The committee met yesterday to discuss petitions from local businesses to allow Songkran festivals to take place in popular tourist areas like Khao San Road. At the meeting, the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority decided to allow ‘traditional watering’ activities in a ‘Covid-free framework’. Splashing water in public spaces and roads is prohibited.

If a Songkran event is expected to exceed a thousand people, the organizer must obtain permission from the BMA health department.

So far, the administration has received no more than eight applications from private companies and temples asking for permission to hold Songkran activities on their private lands. Meanwhile, 46 of Bangkok’s 50 district offices had said they would not hold Songkran celebrations, and the other four district offices have yet to announce their decision.

Previously, the CCSA had agreed that splashing water and the traditional pouring of water as a blessing would be allowed at organized events – as long as there is no alcohol and the events are subject to the measures “ Covid-Free Setting”. Splashing water is not permitted on public spaces, such as roads.

And so on Thursday, business owners on Bangkok’s popular walking street, Khao San Road, teamed up with tourism professionals from Pattaya, Phuket and Chiang Mai to draft and submit a joint petition urging the CCSA to repent of his party fault, fearing a loss of income.

The group has come up with a list of measures to screen and limit Songkran party participants, according to the association’s chairman.

Bangkok’s Communicable Diseases Committee then met the following Monday to consider their request and yesterday announced its decision to allow the ‘traditional water sprinkling’ wave.

Current CCSA restrictions also encourage festival goers to practice traditional activities without water, such as bowing to elders from a distance of at least one meter, instead of pouring water on their hands as a gesture. of respect and blessing.

The guidelines, while well-intentioned, can be seen by many as disregarding the desire of older people to be blessed and honored by their young parents, while also reflecting logical fallacies about the spread of Covid-19 among the elderly. family members.

Notably, the water blessing ceremony usually takes place outdoors, where there is a lot of wind and UV light. Additionally, the ceremony only lasts a moment and everyone involved can wear masks, as is already common practice in Thai society.

In response to complaints about a shortage of the antiviral drug Favipiravir, the Ministry of Public Health said the country’s supply is sufficient to meet local demand, which does not explain why there are complaints in the first place. .

Deputy Permanent Secretary for Public Health Thongchai said hospitals may experience a ‘temporary’ shortage with the rise in Covid, but the official said they could acquire more antiviral pills from the provincial health office of their region.

The antiviral drug is used to treat patients with Covid-19 with moderate to severe symptoms, but should be given in the early stages of the disease. With hospitals running out of drugs, the Rural Doctors Society has urged the ministry to be more transparent about the country’s supply of favirpiravir, but many officials have denied a shortage…although there is indeed a shortage.

Of just over 128 million Favipiravir tablets recently procured by the Government Pharmaceutical Organization, most have been distributed to hospitals nationwide, leaving a total of 22.8 million tablets in stock, according to the public health official , quoted by Thai PBS.
also requesting the acquisition of a
The ministry ordered 75 million Favipriavir pills ahead of Songkran as coronavirus cases are expected to rise after the holidays, according to Nation Thailand.

The Thai government is considering allowing citizens to produce alcohol at home, but spirits would only be allowed for personal consumption and not for sale.

The revised laws will likely allow Thais to brew beer as well as distill whiskey, which is often brewed with herbs to make the traditional, homemade moonshine “ya dong”.

Deputy Government Spokesman Ratchada Thanadirek said the Cabinet was considering a bill under the Excise Tax Act proposed by MP Pipop of the Go Ahead party. Under Cabinet approval, the Ministry of Finance will work on revising the home-brewing regulations.

Ratchada added that while the relaxation of home-brewed liquor laws is intended to give more freedom to the public, the liquor production process will need to be controlled to meet sanitary standards.

He said the cabinet had pushed for the regulations to focus on controlling the quality and safety of drinks and limiting the environmental impact of the manufacturing process. But it remains to be seen how the government can realistically apply this in every household.

An Iranian tourist has disappeared after a whitewater rafting accident yesterday in Phang Nga province, southern Thailand.

A group of five foreign tourists alongside two tour operators were rafting down a river in the village of Song Phraek when they crashed into a rock causing their dinghy to capsize.

Local authorities are still looking for the 42-year-old from Iran. A villager who witnessed the incident said he saw the five foreign tourists hit strong rapids and crash into a rock, capsizing their boat near a bridge. The man is presumed to have drowned and the search for his body is still ongoing.

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A taxi driver robbed a passenger and left him with his friend at a gas station in Isaan province, Ubon Ratchathani.

The Thai tourist from Bangkok says that not only did the driver overcharge him for the trip, but he also left with his luggage which included his passport, tablet and phone.

The 45-year-old tourist said he and his friend had just landed at Ubon Ratchathani International Airport and were approached by a group offering a taxi service. For a 100 kilometer trip from the airport to Khemmarat district, the taxi charged 1,000 baht. According to the standard fares for the distance, the transportation costs should not cost more than 900 baht.

The tourist says the driver suggested stopping at a gas station on Ubon – Trakan Road to go to the toilet and take a short break. When the tourist and his friend came out of the convenience store, the taxi was gone. The driver took three pieces of luggage containing documents, a passport, a tablet and a phone, which the tourist said cost 100,000 baht. They say they had even bought drinks and snacks for the driver.

The tourist says he usually travels to the province to earn money about 4-5 times a year and has a regular taxi driver. However, the driver was not available, forcing him to use the service at the front of the airport. He wanted the relevant authorities to investigate the taxi service at the airport to prevent similar cases from happening again.

Muang Ubon Ratchathani officers are currently working on the case. They checked CCTV cameras outside the convenience store and an airport parking lot to search for the driver.

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