Handout could see 20m apply

Handout could see 20m apply

More than 17.2 million people have applied for the 5,000-baht financial aid granted by the government to ease the impact of the Covid-19, according to Fiscal Policy Office director Lavaron Saengsanit.

That was the figure which stood at 6pm yesterday as people registered on www.เราไม่ทิ้งกัน.com, the only official channel, which began accepting applications at 6pm on Saturday, Mr Lavaron said.

The Thai web address means: "You will never be left behind."

He added that registrations had peaked at two million per hour at 10pm on Saturday, an unexpected volume considering the total number of informal workers affected by the Covid-19 is believed to be about 10 million.

It is likely that many people who are not eligible for the aid took a chance and registered anyway, Mr Lavaron said.

Including those ineligible registrations, his team may have to process up to 20 million applications, he said.

The government has rolled out a series of stimulus packages to ease the impact of Covid-19 on workers.

Among them is a 50-billion-baht government fund that provides 5,000 baht per month for three months to three million virus-affected temporary employees and self-employed workers.

Previously, a broad range of financial and fiscal relief mea­sures was issued to help companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, alleviate negative impacts from the Covid-19 crisis.

Meanwhile, the Bank of Thailand yesterday announced that banks will resume their services today after closing some branches at weekends to help prevent the spread of coronavirus ahead of the mass registrations for aid.

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