Thai authorities have deployed the military, police and city officials to pacify tourists who spray others with water pistols during the celebration of the Thai New Year – Songgran. It sounds unusual, but pouring water on each other on the streets on this holiday is a national tradition. And since the current year has been declared “dry” due to the coronavirus, water spraying has also been banned. The information came from a statement by the authorities quoted by the Thai media.
In an attempt to reduce the risk of new Covid-19 infections during the Thai New Year, the Center for Control and Prevention of the Spread of COVID-19 (CCSA) announced a ban on the tradition last month. However, according to media reports, many foreigners and locals did not know about it or simply ignored it: tourists posted hundreds of videos on social networks about “shelling” each other with water on the popular tourist walking street in Bangkok.
Now, at both ends of this very road, barriers have already been installed to check visitors for the presence of prohibited paraphernalia for splashing water, i.e. water pistols. Security checks began at 13:00 p.m. to confiscate the existing “weapons” and at the same time “catch” those who have symptoms of coronavirus and send them for rapid testing. At the same time, local outlets/cafes/restaurants also came under scrutiny – eight of them were fined for selling alcohol after 23:00 in the evening. Recall that the country has a national ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages at night.
However, it seems that officials in Thailand do not have time to study all the changes, so what can we say about ordinary tourists and locals who took to the streets to have fun. So, one of the senior police officials said that “traditional events during Songkran” are allowed if there is an appropriate permit, while since last week, parties have been officially banned altogether.
The head of the CCSA operations center said he hoped that yesterday's scenes of revelers splashing liquid would not happen again. He also added that local authorities don't want to crack down on parties hard by forcing people to comply with current security restrictions. However, they still attracted the military to the Khao San road.
According to Thai publications, there were no arrests. So, on Khao San Road, Bangla Road in Phuket and Koh Samui, where various water fights have taken place in the past few days, police and soldiers have arrested people and taken away their water pistols for violating the order. Note that such conflict resolution does not add to the attractiveness of the country, especially since the kingdom is struggling to attract travelers from around the world, who traditionally perceive Thailand as a place of entertainment.
Formerly Center for Control and Combating the Spread COVID-19 (CCSA) has decided to cancel the requirement for PCR tests 72 hours before departure for foreign tourists from April 1.
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