OPINION: Coronavirus is here and it’s time to stop partying, Thailand

On Thursday, the Ministry of Public Health announced that it had discovered 11 more cases of coronavirus.

The 11 new patients were revealed to be a group of friends entertaining a visiting friend from Hong Kong.

The group partied hard and long into the night in popular hangouts in Ekkamai and Thong Lor.

The group shared drinks, cigarettes, laughs and coronavirus.

Their irresponsibility contributed directly to the infection of all 11 friends, despite the fact that none of them had stepped foot outside of Thailand in recent months.

The Ministry said that behaviour such as this, especially in light of the coronavirus is irresponsible behaviour and a danger to public health.

“Refrain from sharing spoons, utensils and, glasses and try to keep a personal distance when hanging out with friends,” said Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoen, Director-General of the Department of Disease Control at a press conference on Thursday morning.

Yet, despite the stern warning, many Thais have continued to party and enjoy the vibrant nightlife that Bangkok offers.

But according to World Health Organization experts and health officials in Thailand, large gatherings must now be avoided.

The NBA has postponed its schedule indefinitely, Italy’s Serie-A has postponed all their games indefinitely, SXSW has been cancelled in the US, as has E3, and Coachella has been postponed.

If the nerds of E3 and the pretentious yuppies of Coachella can postpone their holy grail festivals in the name of public health, then we can take steps in our every day lives to minimize the risk of infection and maybe calm down with the partying.

The Thai government should learn from these cancelations and send a conducive message that shows that it cares about its public’s health more than its coin purse. Telling the world that Songkran festivities will not be cancelled in the face of a very real possibility of an epidemic, makes a mockery of the term public health.

It is also time for the Thai public to take responsibility to ensure that we do not become another site of an epidemic.

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