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The Public Health Ministry has warned that traditional Songkran “Rod Nam Dam Hua” could be dangerous for seniors during the 5 day holiday in Thailand
Health Ministry officials have recommended avoiding ‘Rod Nam Dam Hua’ (pouring water on relatives’ hands) as a traditional part of Songkran celebrations in order to protect senior citizens from coronavirus infections.
In a statement published on Sunday, Medical Services Department director-general Somsak Akkasilp urged people returning home during the upcoming Thai New Year break to abstain from the ‘Rod Nam Dam Hua’ ceremony of ceremonial water-sprinkling on parents and other respected seniors to reduce the risk of spreading Omicron.
Rather than getting closer to pour water onto the hands of their parents or elderly relatives for Songkran traditions to pour well wishes, well-wishers are advised to keep a distance of about one meter from them and ‘krab’ (bow) instead.
This year, Songkran in Thailand falls between Wednesday, April 13, and Sunday, April 17. The country will have a 5-day break during that time. When the event occurs, people who work away from home, return to their provinces to celebrate it with their families.
There is no government lockdown to prevent them from traveling. In a nationwide vaccination campaign, the government will ensure that 70 percent of 12 million senior citizens receive the third vaccination from March 21-31 in order to protect them from the deadly influenza virus.
According to government data on Saturday, only 4 million people aged 60 or over have received a booster shot so far – accounting for 32% of the total.
The pandemic has taken the lives of the most vulnerable members of society. A Covid report showed 83% of the 66 deaths on Sunday were senior citizens.
According to the National Institute of Development Administration, or Nida Poll, a survey showed that most people view the Omicron variant of Covid-19 as a concern because it spreads rapidly, putting the elderly and people with underlying diseases at risk.
An online survey of 1,320 people was conducted March 7-9 to collect their opinions about the Omicron variant of Covid-19, which is spreading rapidly in the country and abroad.
In response to a question about being concerned by the current spread of Covid-19, 56.36% said “yes” – 34.54% fairly concerned and 21.82% very concerned, saying the Omicron variant puts the elderly at high risk and those with underlying diseases.
On the other side, 22.20% were not worried at all as they did not live in high-risk areas and had been vaccinated against Covid-19, while 21.44% said they were not particularly worried as they had no need to travel to high-risk areas and had been vaccinated.