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A tourist strolling along a beach nearly devoid of tourists in Pattaya, Thailand, on Saturday. The number of visitors coming to the region has plunged due to the Covid-19 outbreak. -AFP pic
A tourist strolling along a beach nearly devoid of tourists in Pattaya, Thailand, on Saturday. The number of visitors coming to the region has plunged due to the Covid-19 outbreak. -AFP pic

SURAT THANI: The world-famous full moon party in Koh Phangan island here and the popular Wan Lai water festival in Pattaya have been cancelled to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Acting Koh Phangan district chief Somchai Somwong announced that the party on Koh Phangan’s Rin beach will be called off as gathering tourists could increase the risk of a Covid-19 outbreak.

According to the Bangkok Post, Somchai said the parties would be held again as soon as the situation was under control and that tour agents and hoteliers have been informed of the suspension.

A full moon party is held on Koh Phangan island every month, and the one for March was to be held on Sunday. The event usually draws thousands of tourists.

Authorities in the Chon Buri province, where the popular tourist city of Pattaya is located, also announced the cancellation of a different version of the Songkran Festival called Wan Lai Bang Saen, which is held annually from April 16 to April 17.

The festival, which is celebrated by people splashing water on each other in the streets as well as religious ceremonies, is normally held after the Songkran holidays.

“We are seeking cooperation from local residents and tourists to refrain from splashing water as it could spread the virus,” Pattaya mayor Sonthaya Khunpluem said on his Facebook account.

The resort city had already postponed the two-day Pattaya Music Festival planned for March 20. The festival was one of eight activities that have been called off or delayed this month.

Khon Kaen city, Phetchabun and Buri Ram provinces also cancelled their Songkran festivities, while Bangkok and other key provinces are expected to follow suit.

Songkran, also known as the Thai New Year, is celebrated between April 13 and April 15 this year. The move came after Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul told provincial governors that they had the authority to decide which events should be cancelled or postponed.

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 was cancelled even though the preparations were 90 per cent completed.

Phetchabun governer Suebsak Iamwichan also cancelled bathing rites for the elderly and ordered the National Office of Buddhism to advise all temples in the province to refrain from conducting Songkran bathing rites this year.

The Buri Ram province called off its Thailand Grand Prix, scheduled to take place on March 22.

Culture Minister Itthiphol Kunplome said he had yet to order any measures regarding Songkran events as he needed to hear recommendations from the Public Health Ministry and cabinet.

However, his ministry had postponed all scheduled concerts and performances as well as international art and cultural shows.

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