The most fun time to travel to Thailand is the Thai New Year, known as Songkran.
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This year Thailand has canceled all public Songkran celebrations in a move driven by local authorities throughout the country and designed to prevent the kingdom from the threat of the Convid 19 coronavirus infection. It follows the cancellation of the Full Moon Party and new quarantine orders applicable to passengers from 6 high-risk countries.
Thai authorities throughout the kingdom have taken the fight against the coronavirus to a new level. On the day that quarantine provisions became effective for high-risk countries, there have been announcements throughout the kingdom, including the tourist hotspots of Pattaya and Phuket, that Songkran festivities are canceled for 2020.
The cancellation extends to an array of other events due to be held throughout the kingdom from senior citizens sports to a sculpting competition in Phuket.
Disinfecting public spaces, coin and post underway
The announcements from around Thailand also coincide with a major campaign to clean up public places as well as special actions such as the disinfection of coin currency and all Thailand’s post.
It seems to mark a more robust attitude as Thai authorities move to prevent the virus from reaching a Phase 3 level or general outbreak.
It is also understood that Thai officials are receiving guidance from Chinese authorities who have learned from their battle with the disease which is still ongoing in the communist country but is seen to be coming under control.
In Wuhan province outside Wuhan city, there were no new infections reported on Friday.
Pattaya’s Mayor announced the news
The announcement that Songkran festivities in Pattaya were not being held this year came from Mayor Sonthaya Khunpluem who confirmed the blanket cancellation of all events including Wan Lai from the 18th to 19th April.
Authorities have encouraged the public to make private but restrained acts to celebrate what to many traditional Thais is the start of the new year and an auspicious occasion.
Phuket took its decision on Thursday
On Thursday, Phuket’s authorities took a similar decision. In a statement to Phuket’s local newspaper, The Phuket News, Patong’s Mayor Chalermluck Kebsab of the Democrat Party confirmed that all Songkran festivities in the popular tourist hotspot were off.
‘We held a discussion and concluded that we will not hold an official event at all because we want to avoid all risk of COVID-19 spreading, which becomes more likely with large crowds,’ Mayor Chalermluck announced. The Mayor announced that all ancillary events to the celebration were also canceled including merit making at Loma Park.
Mayor of Patong allowed an open door for limited ‘water play’ on Bangla Road in Phuket
She did leave the door open for some ‘water play’ on Bangla Road helpfully pointing out that authorities can not control such activity.
Similar comments have been made by national authorities in relation to the famous Khaosan Road horseplay which is an annual ritual in Thailand’s capital city during the holiday season.
‘Please be careful when playing, be polite and safe,’ Mayor Chalermluck urged.
Most foreigners will act responsibly showing respect for efforts to fight the disease threat in Thailand
Given the current atmosphere of concern in the country and worldwide, it is quite likely that even the most fun-loving foreigners would consider this inappropriate behavior as Thailand fights to ward off this disease.
The announcements are similar to decisions in Khon Kaen, Buri Ram and Phetchabun where local authorities are also playing their part.
Clean up of Soi 6 in Pattaya by local volunteers
This week in Pattaya, on March 2nd, Deputy Mayor Manote Nongyai led a posse including officials and some local volunteers on a mission to clean up the area surrounding the Soi 6 red-light zone in the city.
There has been no recorded case of infection in the party city since the coronavirus outbreak which has seen its trade fall off by over 50% because of the health threat with a dearth of Chinese tourists.
However, it’s always better to be safe than sorry and the deputy mayor and his team used power washers and sprays to clean surface areas in the bars and surrounding areas even including ATM machines
Coconut oil spray with special oxides the control weapon of choice for cleaning up Pattaya’s Soi 6
It is being reported that the deputy mayor’s team was using a special concoction consisting of coconut oil and oxides to make safe the area for the bar girls, the tourists and local punters who remain in Pattaya to carry on the city’s reputation as a party paradise for nightlife lovers.
The local actions are not isolated.
Throughout Thailand from Chiang Mai to the southern islands local, authorities are moving to carry out disinfecting and cleaning operations which may not only help halt the spreading virus but also raise awareness of this threat which must be defeated.