Conditions in Northern Thailand are slowly, slowly returning to a new type of "normal".
We read media reports that quarantine requirements for those wishing to enter Thailand may be loosened in the near future for those who have been vaccinated and look forward to the return of our members who have been "locked out" for over a year, after they receive their vaccinations overseas.
Sadly, implementation of Covid-19 vaccinations here does not seem to be a top priority of the Thai government and, so far, private hospitals have been unable to secure their own supply and the government's supply has been very limited, with few sources approved and local manufacture many months distant. It's been many weeks since there has been a new Covid-19 case in Chiang Mai province, but new cases occur daily in and around Bangkok and Tak province, adjacent to Myanmar, where Covid-19 rages and which is the location of some of our service project activity.
We learn about the political situation in Myanmar from local news media, available to anyone in the world via the internet. At this time, we have not been asked directly for assistance from any of our program partners who work along the border, although that could change as more people from Burma relocate into Thailand.
Many of our members have temporarily left left Chiang Mai due to the "normal" poor seasonal air quality, with Phuket seeming to be a popular destination. It's also the time of school holidays and since most of our service projects involve children, our projects are also "on holiday".
On the subject of holidays, the Thai government has decided to reinstate the traditional time of the multi-day Songkran holiday, mid-April, unlike last year. However, the holiday is to be low-keyed with no water or powder throwing, no public drunkenness and strict curfews. Instead, it is to be celebrated in the "traditional way", with washing of Buddha images plus young people washing the hands of elders and receiving blessings from them (pictured above). It will be a welcome relief to venture outside our condo building during Songkran without being drenched with water.