Cabinet okays aid for 16 provinces

Cabinet okays aid for 16 provinces

Assistance to match that for first 13 areas

Ratchaprasong intersection in central Bangkok is void of traffic during the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19.  Wichan Charoenkiatpakul
Ratchaprasong intersection in central Bangkok is void of traffic during the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19.  Wichan Charoenkiatpakul

As the government added 16 provinces to the lockdown and curfew group, the cabinet on Tuesday approved an additional 30 billion baht to help workers and entrepreneurs in those provinces.

Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said people and entrepreneurs in the 16 new provinces affected by the lockdown will receive the same rates of financial aid as the 13 provinces already dealing with the government measures, provided via the Social Security Fund.

The 16 additional provinces are Kanchanaburi, Samut Songkhram, Suphan Buri, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Ratchaburi, Ang Thong, Nakhon Nayok, Prachin Buri, Lop Buri, Rayong, Sing Buri, Saraburi, Nakhon Ratchasima, Phetchabun and Tak.

The latest relief measures are available to nine business sectors including construction, hotels, food services, art, entertainment and recreation.

Mr Anucha said the relief measure spans two months for the first group of 13 dark red provinces (July-August) and one month (August) for the additional 16 provinces.

The curfew and lockdown measures have been enforced in Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Pathum Thani and Nakhon Pathom and four southern provinces since July 12.

Chon Buri, Chachoengsao and Ayutthaya were included on July 20.

The government earmarked 30 billion baht in the relief measures for the first group.

Under the relief measures, workers registered under Section 33 of the Social Security Act receive at most 10,000 baht per person for one month, while their employers receive at most 3,000 baht, with a compensation rate of 200 baht per employee.

Other types of workers registered under Sections 39 and 40 of the same law receive a cash handout of 5,000 baht for one month.

Employers and workers must be registered in the social security system to receive these benefits.

The National Economic and Social Development Council reported to the cabinet meeting on Tuesday the lockdown and curfew measures in the 16 additional provinces are unlikely to affect the country's overall economy much, noting these provinces contribute only 17% of the nation's GDP.

The government planning unit estimated the measures in 29 total provinces would decrease the country's GDP by one percentage point, or 160 billion baht.

In a related development, the cabinet approved including taxi and motorcycle taxi drivers older than 65 in the 29 provinces as beneficiaries under Section 40 of the Social Security Act.

The Transport Ministry is required to prepare assistance measures and propose them later to the cabinet.

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