April 28, 2020 / 10:36 AM / a month ago

Thailand approves $5.6 billion in coronavirus aid for farmers, workers

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand’s cabinet approved 180 billion baht (4.44 billion pounds) worth of additional cash handouts on Tuesday to help protect farmers and workers against the coronavirus pandemic that is driving the country towards recession.

Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy, which has recorded 2,938 virus infections and 54 deaths, stands to shrink the most since the Asian financial crisis of 1997/98 and lose up to 10 million jobs because of the outbreak.

The government agreed to provide cash of 150 billion baht for 10 million farmers. Each farmer will get 15,000 baht, government spokeswoman Naruemon Pinyosinwat told reporters.

It also increased the number of eligible workers to 16 million from 14 million. That swells the total handout by 30 billion baht. Each worker will receive 15,000 baht.

With economic measures to limit the impact of the pandemic running into billions of dollars, the government plans to borrow 1 trillion baht to help fund them.

Reporting by Orathai Sriring and Satawasin Staporncharnchai; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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