Bangkok, Thailand: Alcohol Sales Ban Extended
The city of Bangkok – Thailand’s capital – banned alcohol sales from April 10 as the COVID-19 pandemic started spreading. Now the ban has been extended till the end of the month.
The alcohol sales ban which was set to end on midnight on April 19 (Sunday) was extended until April 30. It was enforced mainly to discourage social gatherings during the Songkran festival.
With the spread of the novel coronavirus Thailand has declared a state of emergency and is currently on lockdown. The country has also postponed Songkran, the traditional New Year holiday that is celebrated from April 13 to April 15, to later in the year.
Many other districts of the Thailand’s 77 provinces have also implemented similar restrictions to curb alcohol consumption. The measures are estimated to protect about 16 million people in the country. Restricting access to alcohol likely improves health and well-being of people and communities as well as reduces and prevents unnecessary strain on healthcare, emergency services and law enforcement.
The World Health Organization has advised governments to restrict access to alcohol during the COVID-19 public health crisis for several reasons. These include,
- Alcohol harms overall physical health, specific to the current situation, by weakening the immune system which makes people more susceptible to the virus and its complications;
- Alcohol harms mental health by increasing risk for mental disorders and aggravating existing conditions;
- Alcohol fuels violence which increases risk towards victims who are locked in with their aggressors as well as to wider society; and
- Alcohol harm, including road traffic injuries and fatalities and violence, unnecessarily increases the burden on healthcare systems, emergency services and law enforcement which are already over-burdened with the pandemic.