Authorities are asking the Thai-Chinese community to be cautious while observing the Chinese New Year, with families and places asked to rigorously adhere to Ministry of Public Health regulations to minimize COVID-19 infections.
In the midst of the current COVID-19 transmissions and outbreaks, the Chinese New Year began yesterday (30 January). Thais of Chinese ancestry will be permitted to perform Chinese New Year rituals and customs and visit temples as usual this year, but they must adhere to COVID-19 preventive measures.
Because of the current Covid-19 situation, Chinese New Year activities in Bangkok’s Yaowarat neighborhood have been canceled, according to Government Spokesperson Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha is urging Thais to rigorously comply with minimum health protocols such as social distancing, wearing of facemask, and other preventative measures throughout the three days of the Chinese New Year.
Visitors attending religious Chinese New Year ceremonies are still permitted to visit shrines and places of worship, with everyone obliged to strictly comply with Universal Protection procedures.
Venues are also required to follow COVID Free Setting rules and appoint personnel to enforce measures meant to prevent coronavirus transmissions and lessen the adverse effects of incense smoke.
Officials from the Department of Health visited the Yaowarat neighborhood in Bangkok’s Samphanthawong district to meet with local business owners and residents to discuss COVID safety requirements for the Chinese New Year.
Reduce the risk of infection during Chinese New Year
During the Chinese New Year season, food safety practices must be implemented on the day of spending, day of worship, and day of relaxation, according to Dr Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai, director-general of the Department of Health, as he urged the public. Buyers should also make certain that the ducks and chickens are fresh and also that the reddish color of the pork is natural.
To decrease the level of PM2.5 airborne dust particles, Chinese New Year festival-goers are recommended to use shorter incense sticks and put them out sooner than normal. High-quality silver and gold joss paper should be used, and the amount burnt should be decreased. Paper ash and used incense sticks should also be separated from regular rubbish. Furthermore, face masks are required to be worn at all times during ceremonies, and Universal Prevention measures for COVID safety should be strictly followed. Dr. Suwannachai also recommended that restaurants, food stores, and shrine canteens take safeguards against food and waterborne illnesses such as diarrhea, in addition to observing minimum COVID-19 health protocols.
Athittaya Chokkitmanatchai, Director of the Samphanthawong District Office, stated that officials from her department have been advising local merchants of Chinese New Year products on how to minimize coronavirus transmission. She also mentioned that businesses have been following illness control procedures, with all salespeople wearing masks and providing alcohol gel dispensers in their stores for customers to use. Officials have established that food products at Leng-Buai-Ia market, which is popular with district consumers, stay fresh and sanitary, and screening stations, as well as alcohol gel dispensers, have been installed.