Most Thais worried about Omicron during festive period, safety tips offered for celebrations

Fireworks erupt over downtown Bangkok during New Year’s celebrations on January 1, 2020. – Some 100 000 people gathered to welcome the new decade. (Photo by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP)

The Department of Health today (Wednesday) disclosed the result of an opinion survey, conducted by the department between December 1st and 20th, which shows 80% of the respondents are worried about coronavirus during the festive period, including 70% who are particularly concerned about the Omicron variant, which may spread as more people gather in groups for social gatherings and activities.

The research identified five types of location which may make people vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19 infections. They include entertainment venues, such as bars and pubs, 64.2%, tourist spots, 60.3%, markets, 48.4%, malls, 45% and public transports, 44%.

Head of the Department Dr. Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoenchai stressed the need for the public not to lower their guard, especially during the New Year festival, even though there are signs of improvement in the pandemic and 100 million doses of vaccines have been administered.

Dr. Suwanchai said that the best way to protect oneself from COVID-19 is to a wear face mask at all times while being outdoors and regularly wash hands with soap and water or sanitizers, as he pointed out that the poll shows 97% of the respondents claiming that they wear face masks all the time when they are outdoors and 94% claiming that they regularly wash their hands.

The department is offering tips for celebrating safely at home when there is a New Year party.  These include holding the party in an open space with good air ventilation, no hugging, eating well-cooked food, using separate dishes, forks and spoons, observing social distancing and wearing face masks.

In case of attending a New Year countdown event, attendees should choose to attend an event which has the COVID free setting and SHA Plus signs displayed, is in an open space with good air circulation and is not crowded. People should also avoid drinking groups and strictly observe measures imposed at the event venues.

Before leaving home to attend a social gathering, everyone should take an ATK test to make sure they are safe and take sanitizers and spare face masks with them.

When arriving home after attending such events, people should immediately change their clothes and take a shower. People who are already sick should avoid leaving home.

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