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Thailand to celebrate another muted Songkran with low economic boost

COVID limits, water-splashing bans to cut tourist spending

A woman holds incense sticks during celebrations for the Lunar New Year at a Chinese temple in Thailand's Samut Prakan Province on Feb. 12.   © Reuters

BANGKOK -- Thailand is about to enter the Songkran holidays to celebrate the kingdom's new year on April 13. But, like last year, the mood is again subdued as resurgent COVID-19 brings restrictions prohibiting the splashing of water. The absence of celebrations is expected to weigh on the already weak economy.

The government has canceled all public events related to the Songkran festival in order to prevent people from gathering for water fights, foam parties and drinking alcohol outside. The splashing of water for ritual cleansing could directly transfer bodily fluids between people and lead to a massive number of new infections.

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