New stimulus measures planned to ease Coronavirus impact


BANGKOK – A Thai economic cabinet is planning new economic stimulus measures to ease the impact of the new coronavirus outbreak as the first human-to-human case in the country is confirmed.

In the meeting chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Friday, the economic minsters discussed proposals to provide assistance for tourism-related businesses that have been hit hard by the current outbreak of coronavirus.

Possible measures included tourism promotion in other markets to offset the decreasing number of Chinese tourists.

Around 800,000 Chinese tourists arrived in Thailand each month before the outbreak began last month.

Businesses may be granted financial assistance and marketing promotion tools, officials say.

For foreign tourists, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports proposed a “Cash Back” scheme.  Any tourists who spend more than THB30,000 would get 7 percent of the money back, said Tourism and Sports Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakan.

The proposal would be finalized and later submitted for Cabinet approval, he said.

Another measure by the Ministry of Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul is to temporarily suspend visa-on-arrival for Chinese nationals.

Thailand has continued to roll out preventive measures in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak as the country announced the first case of human-to-human infection on Friday.

The taxi driver has been treated as suspected cases and placed under medical surveillance for days until the authorities confirmed that he has been infected with the virus from a Chinese tourist.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Thailand goes up to 15.

Public health officials say the taxi driver condition is stable.