As four new COVID-19 cases were reported yesterday (Mar 5), acting Koh Phangan district chief Somchai Somwong announced the party on Rin beach will be called off as the gathering of tourists can increase the risk of a coronavirus outbreak.
Mr Somchai said the parties will be held again as soon as things return to normal, adding that tour agents and hoteliers have been informed of the suspension.
A full-moon party is held on the island every month, and the one for March was slated to be held on Sunday (Mar 8). The event usually draws thousands of tourists.
Narongchai Kunplome, mayor of Muang Saen Suk municipality in Chon Buri, where a distinctly different version of the Songkran Festival called Wan Lai Bang Saen is held every year on April 16-17, also announced the cancellation of the event yesterday. He added that all events involving large groups of people will also be banned.
The spread of the virus has motivated public health authorities to ramp up responses, as the Public Health Ministry yesterday reported four new local COVID-19 cases - men aged between 20 and 42 who had arrived from Iran and Italy over the past week. (See story here.)
Meanwhile, Khon Kaen, Phetchabun and Buri Ram have also cancelled their well-known Songkran festivities, while Bangkok and other key provinces are expected to follow suit.
All official celebrations in Patong for the Songkran Thai New Year have been cancelled, it was announced yesterday. (See story here.)
Songkran, also known as the Thai New Year, falls on April 13-15 this year.
These moves came after Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul told a teleconference with the Interior Ministry and provincial governors that they had the authority to decide which events should be banned for the sake of COVID-19 containment.
Khon Kaen mayor Thirasak Thikhayuphan said his province has decided to trade in the 200 million baht in cash flow from celebrations for public safety.
He said the event has been cancelled even though the preparations are nearly 90% complete.
Suebsak Iamwichan, governor of Phetchabun, has cancelled bathing rites for the elderly and ordered the provincial office of the National Office of Buddhism to advise all temples in the province to refrain from conducting Songkran bathing rites this year.
Veteran politician Newin Chidchob posted on his Facebook page that Buri Ram would cancel its Songkran celebrations as a COVID-19 containment measure.
The province has also called off its Thailand Grand Prix, scheduled to take place on March 22. It has now been rescheduled for Oct 4. (See story here.)
In Bangkok, Sa-nga Ruangwatthakun, president of the association of business operators on Khao San Road, said he expects Khao San’s famous Songkran celebrations to be cancelled as well.
Culture Minister Itthiphol Kunplome said he has yet to order any measures regarding Songkran events as he needs to hear recommendations from the Public Health Ministry and cabinet.
However, his ministry has postponed all scheduled concerts and performances as well as overseas art and cultural shows.