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Coronavirus Thailand

Government only has enough to pay 5,000 baht aid package for 1 month – PM

Jack Burton

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Government only has enough to pay 5,000 baht aid package for 1 month – PM | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Chiang Rai Times
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Shortly after the national state of emergency was declared in Thailand, the government of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha announced an aid package of 5,000 baht per month to “informal workers” left behind by the Covid-19 crisis. The original announcement, part of a 117 billion baht stimulus package, was for 3 months, but this was later extended to 6 months, despite the overwhelming number of applicants, many of who, it turns out, weren’t eligible for the aid – that includes the estimated 300,000 Thai sex workers.

Now Prayut says the government currently only has enough budget for a payout of the promised stimulus for the first month. He says the central budget is drying up and the government is already siphoning 10% of every ministry’s budget to come up with the money, but this will not be available until June.

The cabinet has already approved an emergency loan decree worth 1 trillion baht, which should be available around the end of April or early May.

Prayut explained that there are 37 million people in Thailand’s workforce of whom 9 million people are “informal,” ie. freelancers, motorbike taxi drivers and the self-employed, 11 million people who are covered by the social security system and 17 million in the agriculture sector. This means that not everyone can be compensated.

“I am sad and I sympathise and I am more anxious than you. But, we have to face the reality that the initial budget from the central budget was set at 50 billion baht for 3 million people, which would be enough to pay out the compensation for up to 3 months or 15,000 baht per person.”

“However, since the number of people who have registered for the scheme has surpassed 9 million, the government now only has enough for the first month.”

Thailand’s Education Minister told reporters after Tuesday’s cabinet meeting that the government is now asking all ministries to cut investment budgets by 50% and overseas travel budgets by 25% to help the government come up with extra funds to support its relief measures.

The Social Security Office announced this week that the coronavirus outbreak is “an unforeseeable event” which has led to a surge of unemployment, and thus constitutes a national emergency.

This now allows the SSO to pay out unemployment benefits to its insured at 62% of their wages, or around 7,000-8,000 baht per month, for no more than 90 days. There is currently still 160 billion baht in the SSO’s unemployment fund.

The SSO initially estimated that there would be about 700,000 jobless workers who are registered with the social security system who would receive this compensation.

“The number of insured who have either quit or were let go from their jobs is more than a million people. Of those, around 350,000 have been directly impacted by the outbreak while around 800,000 are being affected by the lockdown.”

SOURCE: Thai Enquirer

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Coronavirus Thailand

Despite special tourist visa approval, hoteliers remain skeptical about reopening

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Despite special tourist visa approval, hoteliers remain skeptical about reopening | The Thaiger

As news comes of the cabinet approving a special long-term tourist visa scheme, hoteliers are remaining skeptical about reopening due to the lack of clarity in the recent announcement, which will reportedly take effect next month. The president of the Thai Hotels Association’s southern chapter says more hoteliers will consider reopening if the government gives further information about the plan in terms of prospective markets, arrival dates, origin countries, and flights.

Such details would allow hotels to prepare themselves ahead of time to offer services as alternative state quarantine premises as at least 60 hotels in Phuket are awaiting approval to operate as such a facility.

Around 90 percent of Phuket hotels reportedly remain closed and are revising their plans on a monthly basis to ensure any future income will not fall behind operation costs. In Chon Buri, the Tourism Council says only half of the 200 registered hotels have reopened, with up to 20 hotels applying for ASQ certification.

Another issue keeps hoteliers on standby as most international flights are currently only operating at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport, giving foreigners entering Thailand limited options for undergoing a state quarantine. Apart from landing in the country’s capital, tourism-related agencies also have to find appropriate marketing campaigns that would target visitors willing to comply with the 14-day mandatory quarantine requirements upon arrival.

Areas outside of Bangkok will need special transportation allowances set up for those entering through Suvarnabhumi to be transferred to their end destinations without being exposed to large groups of people.

Otherwise, as seen in the North with only 30% of hotels having reopened-some with only a 10% occupancy rate, hoteliers await further details of the scheme which is reportedly set to run between October 2020 to November 2021.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

No new cases today- Covid-19 update (July 7)

The Thaiger & The Nation

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No new cases today- Covid-19 update (July 7) | The Thaiger

Today, there have been no new reported cases of Covid-19 in Thailand over the past 24 hours leaving the total amount of cases remaining at 3,195 with 58 deaths since the pandemic began. The number of recovered patients remains at 3,072, leaving 65 still hospitalized.

The Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration said that of the 3,195 accumulated cases, 2,444 contracted the disease locally, while 258 were diagnosed in state quarantine facilities. The Kingdom has had no new community transmissions over the past 43 days.

Globally, the number of cases rose by 182,490 over the past 24 hours to 11.74 million. The death toll also increased by 3,884 to 540,660.

The United States had the most cases at 3.04 million, increasing by 57,905 over the last 24 hours and the most deaths at 132,979, increasing by 410 since yesterday.

Brazil has seen the second-highest number of cases at 1.63 million, up by 21,486 over the last 24 hours, with 65,556 deaths. India has the third-highest number of cases with 720,346 cases and 20,174 deaths. Thailand currently ranks 99th in the world for the number of reported cases.

No new cases today- Covid-19 update (July 7) | News by The Thaiger

Screenshot from https://covid19.ddc.moph.go.th/en

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Over 73,000 Thai farmers to get relief aid after appeals approved

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Over 73,000 Thai farmers to get relief aid after appeals approved | The Thaiger

Over 73,000 Thai farmers are set to get much-needed aid after their appeals for financial help have been approved. The Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) says it will transfer the aid tomorrow, in the amount of 5,000 baht, to help with the Covid-19 economic fallout.

BAAC secretary Anan Suwanrat says the ministry’s appeal panel has approved 73,975 appeals out of 190,000- bringing the total number of farmers eligible for Covid-19 cash handouts to 7,596,747. He says 10,284 appeal requests are still being reviewed.

Of those rejected, he says the applicants have either already received financial aid from other relief schemes, were state officials, or were insured by the Social Security Fund.

The aid was initially approved at the end of April in the amount of 150 billion baht to help over 10 million farmers affected by the pandemic. Of those who were already approved, they are receiving a cash handout of 5,000 baht for 3 months starting in April, with the last handout set to be disbursed between July 15-22.

Thailand’s government has set aside the money to help farmers as part of its 1 trillion baht emergency loan scheme. It has also enlisted the help of the Royal Thai Airforce to help transport produce for the farmers who became unable to disburse their goods due to the pandemic’s lockdown and travel restrictions.

SOURCE: The Bangkok Post

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