Bangkok residents and living with ‘social distancing’

People practice social distancing as they sit on chairs spread apart in a waiting area for take-away food orders at a shopping mall in hopes of preventing the spread of the coronavirus in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

As much as they want to comply with the “stay at home” directive from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, many people that Thai PBS World talked to admitted that their routine has not changed in any way.

Pattita Nonthabutr, an accountant at an international logistics and freight forwarding company,  said she still has to come to her office at Suvarnabhumi Airport everyday and the prospect of a lockdown has even increased her workload.

She said the number of air freights has shot up as most customers are anticipating a lockdown in Thailand.  “So they have stepped up their product delivery,” she said.

She commutes from home in Laksi district to her office in Samut Prakarn province by using public transportation. Social distancing is certainly something difficult if one has to travel in passenger vans like Pattita does. The best she can do is to make sure that she always has her surgical mask on.

Though the government has encouraged both government agencies and private organizations to adopt “work from home” practice to minimize travel by personnel and employees, it appears that the appeal has not yet struck a responsive chord.

Kanjana Klin-Ubol, a civil servant at the Department of City Planning said she still has to report to work as there has been no order from the top management of the Ministry of Interior for its personnel to work from home. Closing of the shopping malls also is not affecting her very much as she doesn’t do much shopping in the first place

Her only frustration, however, is the difficulty of getting face masks.

Supakorn Phothong, a sale person for a fuel hose supplier, said her company has yet to adopt the work from home policy.  However, the company has been providing its staff with sanitary stuffs, including hand gel and face masks. It also arranges for temperature check for employees.

Supakorn, who has already been working remotely, said she sympathized with people being affected by business shutdowns as a result of the pandemic.

“I also feel concerned that people who are travelling back to their hometowns might spread the virus to their loved ones,” she said.

Report by Jeerapa Suvanvitit
Source: Thai PBS World