Health Minister seeks B2.1bn reward for Covid volunteers

Health Minister seeks B2.1bn reward for Covid volunteers

Anutin: To ask the cabinet for funds
Anutin: To ask the cabinet for funds

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul will seek 2.1 billion baht from the government's contingency budget to fund a 2,000-baht handout programme for volunteers who helped with Covid-19 control efforts.

Deputy government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul said yesterday that Mr Anutin will ask the cabinet to earmark the funds today. If approved by the cabinet, the bonus will be paid out to 1.05 million volunteers nationwide over four months.

The bonus is meant as a reward for the work the volunteers had put in from June to September when Covid-19 was still considered a dangerous communicable disease, said Ms Traisuree.

"It is part of the Public Health Minister's policy to ensure volunteers are taken care of until the pandemic ends. The volunteers shouldn't have to pay out of their own pocket to help out their communities," she said.

"[The handout] could go towards covering the cost of fuel incurred while delivering medical supplies to infected patients, or visiting communities to gather information during an outbreak."

She said that community-based health volunteers had played an essential role in supporting our effort to control Covid-19.

This coming Saturday, the government will downgrade Covid-19 from a dangerous communicable disease to a communicable disease under surveillance, and local health volunteers will undoubtedly play an essential role in preparing the country for the post-pandemic era, too, Ms Traisuree said.

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