World News

Thailand approves $3 billion in relief measures to ease virus impact

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand’s cabinet approved 98.7 billion baht ($3 billion) in relief measures on Tuesday to help mitigate the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, which is driving the country towards recession.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy could lose more than $40 billion and up to 10 million jobs due to the pandemic.

The government agreed to increase the number of workers receiving cash handouts to 14 million from 9 million, deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek told Reuters.

That will increase its total handout by 75 billion baht. Each worker receives 15,000 baht.

The government will also cut or waive electricity bills worth 23.7 billion baht for 22 million households.

The government has announced a series of steps worth billions of dollars to limit the impact of the outbreak. It plans to borrow 1 trillion baht to finance the measures.

Thailand has a total of 2,811 cases and 48 deaths.

(Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat and Orathai Sriring; Editing by Giles Elgood)