Due to the further spread of COVID-19, Thai Government Deputy Spokesperson Ratchada Thanadirek has announced via Twitter that the government plans to postpone the Songkran festival, which falls on 13-15 April. New dates have not been announced. Ratchada says areas of large gatherings such as schools, universities, and cinemas may also be temporarily closed starting on Wednesday, 18 March 2020.
On her Twitter post she says,
The COVID-19 management committee has held a meeting and has come to the decision to postpone Songkran festival on 13-15 April in order to increase public distancing and decrease the movement of people in and out of Thailand. #COVID19 #socialdistance
This proposal will be submitted to the cabinet on Tuesday, 16 March 2020.
Thailand has recorded 33 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the total number of infections to 147. Earlier on Sunday, the country had its biggest daily spike in cases from 32-114.
Songkran festival is the Thai new year. The national holiday is one of the only times that Thais working in the cities can return home to their families in the provinces to pay respect to their elders. It is feared COVID-19 could move from Bangkok to rural areas and pose danger to elders living in remote areas that my not have sufficient medical care to deal with possible COVID-19 outbreak.