As the world is seeing a resurgence in Covid-19 cases, Thailand has not been left unscathed. The kingdom has been grappling with the doubling of Covid-19 cases to 11,000 over the past month since the pandemic first broke out.
Under the stimulus package, the government will distribute cash to about 30 million people, mostly informal sector workers and farmers, who are badly affected by restrictions on businesses and movement controls, said Danucha Pichayanan, secretary general of the National Economic and Social Development Council. Each beneficiary will receive 3,500 baht (US$117) per month for two months starting as early as February.
The Thai cabinet is also considering the approval to extend state-funded programmes to help boost domestic demand and spending, especially in the struggling tourism sector after the current restrictions are lifted.
The government has about 209 billion baht (US$6.9 billion) to meet the additional expenses and can also draw from 260 billion baht (US$8.7 billion) surplus from another programme to support fresh stimulus, Danucha said.
With regards to containing the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government has refrained from implementing a broad, overarching lockdown across the country, similar to that which was used during the first outbreak early last year. This reluctance to impose such restrictions stems from the concern that the economy will suffer severe ramifications. Instead, it has placed restrictions on businesses and travels depending on the severity of the outbreak in each region.
But some health experts and analysts have warned looser restrictions could mean it would take longer to contain the virus. Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow said the government expects to contain the outbreak by the end of March, according to Bloomberg.