While Thai PM Prayut watches, provincial governors begin banning mass gatherings

Gen. Prayuth Chan-O-Cha asked people not to panic and please wait for seven days for him to consider whether or not to ban Countdown festivals nationwide. Pattaya’s Countdown has already been canceled. (PCPR promotional banner)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is considering a national order forbidding mass gatherings for New Year’s, but provincial governors aren’t waiting for a decision.

Addressing the explosion of coronavirus cases in Samut Sakhon, the premier on Monday urged people not to panic, but also be careful and remain vigilant about disease-prevention measures.

Gen Prayuth said all fish markets and markets having migrant laborers are now being inspected. In case any are found breaking the law, the factory will be closed immediately.

Prayut said officials are watching carefully this week before deciding whether or not to cancel all New Year’s celebrations and even early January’s Children’s Day festivities.

Provincial governors, however, are taking the decision out of his hands. Bangkok last week canceled the capital’s official countdown events. Chonburi’s governor on Monday forced the cancellation of the Pattaya Countdown by banning large gatherings across the province.

Children’s Day, scheduled for Saturday, January 9, 2021, is also on the chopping block – although as of this writing, the premier has asked people to wait for seven days for his final decision. (File photo)

The Prime Minister has ordered observation of entertainment complexes, pubs, bars, and boxing stadiums across the country. (File photo)

Bangkok’s governor has canceled the New Year’s Countdown celebration in the big city.