Buddhist Holiday ceremonies, gatherings can proceed but should take precautions in Thailand

BANGKOK – For the approaching Buddhist Lent this year, the Sangha Supreme Council is allowing temples to hold religious ceremonies as normal, while the Ministry of Public Health still encourages temples to hold religions activities with precautionary measures against COVID-19.

For this year’s Buddhist Lent, the Department of Medical Services Dr Weerawut Imsamran has encouraged monks to receive a physical check-up and self-isolate for 14 days to ensure no potential transmission of COVID-19 in the monastery or to temple goers. Temples should be regularly sanitized, and screen visitors for symptoms. Monks are advised to wear a face mask every time they go outside, and see a doctor if they have any flu-like symptoms, such as a cough, fever, sneezes, or a runny nose.

Temple goers are encouraged to keep their guard up and continue practicing precautionary measures, by ensuring they don’t carry the virus into temples where monks have to spend their entire time during Buddhist Lent.

The Ministry of Public Health has prepared a special health unit to serve Buddhist monks, and will provide first aid training to monks volunteering for public health works.

The Sangha Supreme Council’s Office of the Secretary General Director Saroj Kansirisilp, says that following the de-escalation of the COVID-19 outbreak in Thailand, the Sangha Supreme Council has now allowed temples across the country to resume arranging religious activities, with precautionary health measures to prevent COVID-19 being implemented.

At religious events, temples should check the temperature of participants, arrange seating with sufficient spacing in between, and require the wearing of face coverings.

Temples across the country will be celebrating the Asanha Bucha Day on 5th July, followed by the beginning of Buddhist Lent on 6th July. Temples are allowed to arrange religious activities such as a candlelight procession ceremony, and monk ordinations.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul, said today that the government has declared the beginning of Buddhist Lent day a National No Alcohol Day. This year, an event will be held where a village health volunteer will be inviting at least three of their family members to make a pledge of 3-months sobriety during Buddhist Lent, either online or on an application.

The preceding is a press release from the National Thai News Bureau

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