Traveling and celebrating during Songkran as superspreading events: a potential triggering factor of the surge of COVID-19 cases in Thailand

Document Type : Letter to Editor

Authors

1 School of Medicine, Centro Escolar University, Manila, Philippines; Behavioral Sciences Department, De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines

2 Behavioral Sciences Department, De La Salle University, Manila, Philippines

3 Faculty of Education, Silpakorn University, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand; Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Mahidol University, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand

Abstract

Thailand, a Southeast Asian country, recently celebrated Songkran, a traditional Buddhist new year festival which is annually marked by festivities such as water-splashing, powder-smearing, and foam parties. However, the case was different since the COVID-19 pandemic began. In 2020, the Thai government completely canceled the holiday across the country in order to prevent and control the COVID-19 transmission. However, in 2021, Songkran pushed through with approval from the Thai government and restrictions set by the country’s Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration such as banning the usual festivities and gathering of people. Additionally, the Tourism Authority of Thailand even encouraged the public to travel across the country. Due to this opportunity, several Thais from Bangkok traveled to their provinces to visit their loved ones in this special occasion. Locals and foreigners also visited the famous tourist hotspots in the country to spend the week-long vacation. Unfortunately, a day after the Thai New Year, daily new cases of COVID-19 started to shoot up and even exceeded the 1,000 mark which happened for the first time. Currently, the highest daily record already reached to almost 10,000 cases. Aside from the arrival of variants of concern in the country, the recent Songkran, a superspreading event, might have triggered the ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases in Thailand. Government leaders should learn from this experience in order to prevent superspreading events to occur which in turn will possibly prevent and control a potential outbreak of contagious diseases such as COVID-19.

Keywords



Articles in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Available Online from 17 October 2021
  • Receive Date: 20 May 2021
  • Revise Date: 06 July 2021
  • Accept Date: 12 July 2021