Thailand spent B444bn in 3 years to fight pandemic

Thailand spent B444bn in 3 years to fight pandemic

FILE PHOTO: People queue to buy subsidised Covid-19 coronavirus rapid antigen (ATK) tests at a Government Pharmaceutical Organisation pharmacy in Bangkok on Jan 14, 2022. (AFP)
FILE PHOTO: People queue to buy subsidised Covid-19 coronavirus rapid antigen (ATK) tests at a Government Pharmaceutical Organisation pharmacy in Bangkok on Jan 14, 2022. (AFP)

Thailand spent a total of 444 billion baht ($12.8 billion) on public health during the three years of the pandemic to contain the spread of Covid-19 and vaccinate its population, according to the Ministry of Public Health.

The cost of testing and treating people for Covid accounted for more than half the total spending at 260 billion baht, the ministry said in a statement Sunday. Vaccine procurement and distribution expenses were estimated at 78 billion baht, the ministry said, citing an internal study.

The government covered the cost of treatment and vaccination for all citizens between 2020 and 2022, with the bulk of the funding coming from the annual budget. Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy also borrowed 1.5 trillion baht to stimulate the economy and partly cover the cost of emergency public health services.

Thailand, the first country outside China to report a Covid case, was successful in containing the virus spread during the early stages with a nationwide lockdown and shuttering borders, before a wave of infections swept the nation during the outbreaks of the Delta and Omicron variants. The country reported 4.7 million confirmed Covid cases and 33,911 deaths as of Feb 25, according to the World Health Organization.

The government also spent 57.5 billion baht in compensation to victims and as incentives to medical personnel in the three years, the health ministry said.


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