Buddhist dieties given Covid-19 face masks for annual candle sculpture festival

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Buddhist deities were given Covid-19 face masks for the annual candle sculpture festival.

The giant wax figures could be seen wearing surgical masks while holding oversized alcohol spray and temperature guns in Buriram province, Thailand on July 26.

Ekachai Berkprakhon, 47, one of the artists who sculpted this year’s candle figures for the parade said the designs were done to inform more people about health and safety protocols.

He said: ‘This year we wanted to help out with the efforts to spread information about Covid-19 health and safety as it is becoming more intense every day.’

Thai Buddhists celebrate Candle Festival at the beginning of Buddhist Lent which this year falls on July 20. The event used to be attended by locals and tourists.

However, travel restrictions were extended and curfews were tightened to control the spread of coronavirus across the country.

Economists have warned that it could be another five years before the country’s tourism industry returns to pre-pandemic levels.

Two years ago tourism made up an estimated 21 per cent of Thailand’s GDP, generating 1.8 trillion baht in revenue. However, the country’s National Economic and Social Development Council predicted that it could be another five years before similar numbers are seen.

Analysts said that between now and 2026, around seven million workers will continue to be affected by the economic harm from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thailand has recorded 526,828 Covid-19 cases and 4,264 deaths as of July 28. Ministers hope a vaccine rollout that started last month will allow them to re-open the country to international tourists before the end of the year.

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