11 July 2024

The government has offered some advice to Thais of Chinese descent on how to celebrate the Chinese New Year safely amid the increasing spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

They advise that people should plan ahead for the purchase of items to be used in seasonal rituals, spend as little time as possible shopping and shop only at markets which are reliable or, for increased safety, buy online and exercise extra caution during family gatherings.

On the day of worship, one day ahead of the Chinese New Year on February 1st, people should reduce the use of incense sticks, use short sticks or electric incense sticks and reduce the burning of ceremonial paper.

They are also advised to avoid crowded places and visit venues which display the safety standard symbols of the Ministry of Public Health.

Government Spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said today (Saturday) that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has expressed concern for the safety of Chinese New Year celebrants, because they tend to gather in large family groups.

The prime minister also urged them to avoid travel, unless strictly necessary, and to comply fully with the basic safety measures.

The COVID-19 Information Centre reported 8,112 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, excluding 2,095 unconfirmed cases who have tested positive using rapid antigen test kits. The death toll in the past 24 hours was 19.

In the southern province of Phang-nga, 428 of 2,300 inmates in the provincial prison tested positive for the virus.

The infected inmates have already been isolated in a field hospital set up in the prison grounds.