Thailand’s state of emergency has been extended for the sixth time

The State of Emergency has been extended until the end of October, the cabinet announced on Tuesday. The SOE came into effect in late March and has been extended six times. 

The latest extension means that the SOE will be in place until the end of October. The visa amnesty has also been extended until the same period of time. 

All businesses including domestic tourism have resumed activity but the entry ban on foreign tourists is still in effect. 

The government said the SOE is needed to prolong the entry ban as the outbreak of coronavirus is still spreading in many countries. The law also allows government agencies to better coordinate their outbreak prevention efforts, they added. 

Critics are saying that the extension is now more about the ongoing protests against Prime Minister Prayut and his administration than the coronavirus outbreak as the country recorded only one locally transmitted case in the past three months.

The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration said on Monday that they have approved in principle the scheme to allow six groups of foreigners to enter the country under the strict 14 days quarantine measure. 

The six groups include foreigners who will be participating in the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s Cup Tour of Thailand 2020, 340 Thai Airways pilots and cabin crew on a repatriation flight from the US, businesspersons who hold a non-immigrant visa, holders of the Special Tourist Visa, around 100,000 of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travel cardholders and foreigners who wish to stay for up to 60-90 days in Thailand. 

Other cabinet approvals

  • Cash handout measures for 14 million social welfare cardholders and 10 million civilians who registered for the government half-price campaign worth in total 51 billion baht. The measures were aimed to boost domestic consumption with a target for consumers to buy goods from registered local stores. 
  • Plans to increase the public debt by 1.46 trillion baht, manage the current outstanding worth 1.27 trillion baht, and payback loans worth 387 billion baht within the 2021 fiscal budget year. The new plans are estimated to push the public debt level to 57.23 per cent of the GDP within the budget year. The increase was partly from the 1 trillion baht emergency loan decree that is being taken out to mitigate the economic impacts from the coronavirus pandemic and the nationwide lockdown. The public debt ceiling currently stands at 60 per cent to the GDP.

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