Thai gov’t advises revelers to enjoy Songkran without “water blessing” ceremony

The Ministry of Public Health is advising the public not to participate in the Songkran holiday’s “water blessing” ceremony, claiming that pouring water on other people’s hands, particularly elderly relatives, increases their risk of contracting COVID-19.

Dr Somsak Akkasilp, director-general of the Department of Medical Services, has urged people who plan to return to their hometowns during the upcoming Thai New Year holiday to abstain from participating in the tradition in order to reduce the risk of infection among elderly family members. He also requested that holiday revelers practice social distancing and bowing to one another in order to reduce their chances of contracting COVID-19.

Thailand will be celebrating Songkran this year, from April 13-17, and many people are expected to travel to their home provinces to celebrate with their families.

The government has stated that it will not impose a travel ban this year. Instead, from March 21-31, it will launch a nationwide campaign to provide a vaccine booster to 70% of the nation’s 12 million senior citizens in order to better protect them from the virus.

According to ministry data, only 4 million Thais – roughly 32% of the total senior population aged 60 and over – have received a booster shot.

Source: NNT