Health officials are advising older people to stay home during the Songkran holiday due to COVID-19 concerns, saying they should only go out when absolutely necessary.
Authorities also urge people to hold their Songkran activities in open or spacious and well-ventilated areas. All attendees must wear face masks and keep their distance from elderly family members. In addition, they should refrain from activities involving physical contact or the sharing of objects, while the duration of activities should be kept to a minimum. Such activities include bathing Buddha images and pouring water on elderly people to ask for their blessing.
Health agencies also recommend practicing social distancing when attending Songkran activities held at temples. These include almsgiving, merit and sermons, which must take place in open spaces. Meals for monks meanwhile should take the form of individual meals instead of the typical shared meal arrangement, while people should bring water vessels for Buddha image bathing rites.
Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai, Director General of the Ministry of Health, noted that the elderly face an increased risk of severe COVID symptoms and death compared to other age groups.
With crowding expected during Songkran celebrations, older people are advised to leave their homes only when necessary and to wash their hands frequently. They should also avoid touching their face with their hands and try to use serving spoons during meals.
The chief executive added that older people should get the COVID-19 vaccine or receive their booster doses if they are already vaccinated.(NNT)