Bangkok Governor Says All Public Events Will Go Ahead

Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt said he would not cancel outdoor entertainment activities in the capital despite calls from the national government to suspend events that could draw large crowds.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) followed the Public Health Ministry’s advice and has asked people to strictly follow measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 cases led by the most transmissible sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5.

Mr. Chadchart explained that the City Hall had urged attendees to observe social distancing and wear face masks during events. However, all activities organized by the BMA, including concerts and open-air movies, will continue because the Covid-19 situation has improved and is now less severe.

“I believe that life must go on. There is no need to shut down (activities) in the present situation because the spread of the virus this time will be less severe than the previous spikes,” he said.

The governor’s comments came before BMA officials were due to attend a meeting with the Public Health Ministry to prepare for surging new Covid-19 infection.

Mr. Chadchart also responded to health permanent secretary Kiattiphum Wongrajit’s Sunday announcement that he would ask the capital’s administration to limit public events, arguing that large gatherings can spread the coronavirus.

Bangkok’s governor said the capital’s case toll has remained stable with only a small manageable increase, and local health officials have not detected a single case in a potential infection cluster linked to outdoor activities. He insisted that most infections are among households and office co-workers.

The main problem is hospitals’ bed availability to care for Covid-19 patients with severe symptoms. However, there is no bed shortage, as most cases are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms and do not need hospitalization, he added.

Mr. Chadchart said that risky activities are not limited to outdoor movie screenings or gigs but also include visits to shopping malls or food outlets.

People shouldn’t let their guard down, but they shouldn’t panic either, the governor stated. He added that the BMA was willing to meet and work with the Public Health Ministry to define other precautionary measures if necessary.