Nearly 12 million Thais receive pandemic cash assistance

To ease the economic hardship from the coronavirus pandemic, the government has extended financial assistance to nearly 12 million people, and expanded free food pantries to all 77 provinces, as new daily cases remained in the single digits while a phased reopening moved forward.

A Finance Ministry official said the government had already paid the monthly allowance of $155 to 11.8 million people, and it expects to reach the rest who are eligible for the aid money this week. The monthly assistance will continue for three months, and the ministry said about 14 million people have qualified for it.

Thailand had recorded 3,018 positive Covid-19 cases, with 56 deaths, and 2,844 people recovered and discharged from hospitals as of May 14. After spiking at over 100 new cases a day in April, the number of new cases has remained in the single digits each day during the past two weeks.

Shops and restaurants have been allowed to reopen, as long they observe social distancing rules. Malls are expected to be allowed to open in a matter of days but will have to limit customers to maintain social distancing. A nighttime curfew is still in effect. A limited number of domestic flights have resumed, but international travel remains shut down except for a few repatriation flights.

To ease the financial distress that many people are suffering, the government scaled up a pilot program of free food pantries last week to all 77 provinces. Those in need may take the food they want from the pantry in their location. A total of 618 pantries are now operating across the Kingdom.

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