Hope of a return to sunnier days of splashing water without fear of your body being hijacked by an invading virus have been washed away by the third wave now gripping the capital.
City Hall yesterday afternoon announced that all Songkran activities, including festivities planned at Khlong Ong Ang Walking Street, have been canceled to deter further spread of COVID-19 after hundreds of new cases surfaced in the past week, most of which were linked to entertainment venues.
Still up in the air along with those infectious bits of B.1.1.7 is the fate of Khaosan Road’s holy water tunnel. Sa-nga Ruangwattanakul, president of the Khao San Business Association, said that although restaurants and bars there will be shut until at least Monday, they would “closely monitor” the situation in hope of showering pedestrians with sacred fluids as originally planned starting Tuesday – the first day of Songkran – to April 15.
Deputy Bangkok Gov. Krianyos Sudlapha urged people to celebrate the Thai New Year by giving alms to Buddhist monks, pouring water on Buddha figures or the eldery for blessings.
The last time Songkran was celebrated without restriction was in 2018. In 2019, celebrations were suspended for the coronation of King Vajiralongkorn. Last year they were canceled due to the pandemic.
After a second outbreak faded in February, many assumed it was the pandemic’s last gasp before mass vaccinations rolled out. With those not expected until June at the earliest, the surge of new cases detected in the capital this past weekend led health officials to order nearly 200 venues shuttered in Bangkok’s busiest districts after more than 250 cases were linked to entertainment venues.
Health officials on Wednesday announced new 334 COVID-19 infections, 216 of which were found in Bangkok.