Thailand is more aware about Covid-19

The Kingdom of Thailand, broadly, seemed to be unaffected by the global spread of Covid-19. Even though the threat of the virus implied to be insignificant, people in the country have shown extensive preventive measures either by putting masks, applying sanitizer or lessening their commute. At a glance, Thailand is witnessed to have no serious hazard of the Covid-19 with a report of only one person dead and 43 people infected as per the latest news. However, there are some socio-economic changes that might be unnoticed but seem prominent which are presented in this article.

The most visible change that is observed is an adjustment in people’s attire. Most of the people have their body parts covered. Masks seemed like a compulsory accessory. Also, people were observed to talk less and avoid making out at crowded places during the holidays. In major cities like Bangkok, most of the tourists looked to be more concerned and carried away by the Covid-19 attack than the locals. However, the locals who were mostly old or illiterate showed no concern about the issue.

The most distinct change seen at major malls and shopping centers was the use of sanitizer.The other major comparison could be drawn from the social lives of city dwellers and country-side locals. Those in the remote places of Thailand seemed to pay no heed to the international announcement and didn’t bother to wear any sort of mask or take preventive measures either. They were, in fact, the ones whom I found the most carefree. Life in the remote area, in fact, didn’t look to have been affected at a huge scale as commented by Mr. Somsak Thotana, a local taxi driver from the rural area of Chiang Mai, Thailand. The situation was completely contrasting in the city as mentioned earlier. During my stay in the nation, I found Thailand’s Airport to have shown the most concerns about the pandemic. Since the airport is a hub of people from different nations, its high-level security check seemed legitimate.

Though the economic effects might seem scarce in major big cities, they do exist due to the pandemic. In Thailand where major big cities like Bangkok are located which are homes to international trade and transactions viewed to be unaffected. The flow of the tourists with all their precautionary accessories is more or less the same. The transactions in global hubs including I.T companies and international brand-markets remained almost the same as before, having negligible effects of the Covid-19 attack. The reason for this was due to the accessibility of work remotely from anywhere. However, this scene in itself can’t clarify every setting that’s ongoing in the Kingdom.

This isn’t the first time Thailand’s economy has been hit so badly. Actually, over the past twenty-five years, it has undergone major clashes including economic crash, tsunami, and serious political violence which halted major trades. Despite all these blasts, Thailand’s tourism had soared, inviting almost 40 million tourists the previous year. Out of that, 25% of the people were from China and once China blocked all of its international flights, the effect was visibly seen in Thailand. Its tourism growth started to descend all of a sudden.

The real tension could be found in tourism operated businesses. According to Mrs. Niyay Aphon, a local guide for parasailing, boating, and underwater activities reported that there was a reduction in the number of tourists by a quarter after the news was spread.  At a nearby restaurant, according to the locals, there used to be a huge flow of tourists around this time due to the upcoming festivals according to the Hindu and Buddhists calendars. However, as observed by the Thais, hardly two percent of the tourists from the previous years make out at such places at this moment due to the global threat. This situation poses a major threat to the vendors and owners of such shops. Restaurants were open but very few tourists were around there. One of the restaurant owners Mr. Wanchai Thanio feared that he wouldn’t be able to cover-up his rent if the situation persists.

Similarly one of the taxi drivers, Mr. Chaisai Hontawa, exclaimed that they were also in trouble due to the reduction in the number of tourists. Most of the small scale entrepreneurs were offering a huge discount at this time to attract people. During my visit to Wat Arun and Royal Grand Palace of Thailand, the ticket counter’s lady convinced me into believing that the crowd of the tourists was really low around this time. Although the virus hasn’t affected the people, it surely has affected the tourism industry in Thailand which contributed about 20% of the G.D.P in the past year.

To sum up, people in the Kingdom of Thailand aren’t affected but the economy is. As per the latest news on the virus which states that the humid, tropical climate doesn’t foster the spread of the virus remains true, it is safe to travel Thailand if it’s urgent. Otherwise, the best advice at the moment is to stay at home: stay safe.