The coronavirus has spread to hundreds of countries around the world.Governments of infected countries are taking precautionary measures by canceling flights and shutting down borders. Because of this, the tourism rate of each country has dropped, and one of the countries that have been affected by this restriction is Thailand.
Thailand is the second most visited country in Asia by tourists, in January 2020 alone, there were 3.81 million tourists that consisted of different nationalities. However, since the start of the virus outbreak, Thailand felt a massive drop in its tourism rate, this leads to hotels being empty, tour guides without work and night markets quiet. The locals are not the only ones who are affected, even their wildlife are affected by the lack of tourists.
Sasaluk Rattanachai, a Thai local, posted a video online that showed massive crowds of monkeys fighting in the streets, looking for food. The video was filmed in Lopburi, which is located in the north-east of Bangkok. The residents said that since there is a lack of tourists in the city, fewer people are giving food to the monkeys.
The monkeys in the city are known for stealing foods and items from residents and tourists, and fighting over the said foods and items are not uncommon, but what is uncommon is the number of monkeys who are brawling in the streets. According to Manad Vimuktipune of the Lopburi Monkey Foundation, each troop of monkeys has around 500 members, and they steal anything, from sunglasses, caps, and other colorful items. However, this time they are willing to go far to get food because there are fewer tourists and there are not enough supplies to be offered, some of the monkeys are starving.
Tourism in Thailand is important to the country's struggling economy. The tourism authority in the country warned the public that the number of foreign visitors may fall to 30 million in 2020, which is a massive drop from the 39.8 million visitors that they had in 2019.
According to the Bangkok Post, the government in Thailand has been criticized because of their lack of clarity over their guidance and plans to potential tourists, including the health measures and quarantine procedures that are likely to be imposed on visitors who are from the countries that are affected by the virus.
At the beginning of March, the government announced that everyone who has traveled from or transited through the affected countries such as Hong Kong, Macau, mainland China, Korea, Iran, and Italy, are required to quarantine. Those who traveled from the said destinations must also have a health certificate that is issued within 48 hours of their departure, as it serves as an assurance that they are negative from COVID-19.
As for the monkeys, the locals stated that they have never seen them so aggressive as they fought over a single banana. The residents of Lopburi, the local government of Lopburi and the Lopburi Monkey Foundation are creating measures to help the starving monkeys before they wreak havoc in the city.