Ministry ready to allot more funds if required

The Finance Ministry stands ready to inject additional money to revive the economy if the Omicron coronavirus variant hits the country, said the Fiscal Policy Office (FPO) director-general Pornchai Thiraveja.

However, it is not yet clear whether the new variant will reach Thailand, he added.

He said the fresh money could be pumped in through the existing stimulus packages and that new packages could also be introduced.

He added that the government still has 250 billion baht remaining of the total 500 billion baht it borrowed under the second emergency loan decree to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on the economy.

If the new variant hits Thailand, the related state agencies are ready to adjust the planned spending of this budget to fit with the situation, he said.

Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said Thailand has monitored the severity of this new variant.

However, Thailand cannot wait until there are no infections to reopen the country. The country has taken the dual approach of stimulating the economy and preventing infections at the same time.

Apisamai Srirangson, a spokeswoman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, confirmed yesterday that travellers coming from eight African countries would not be allowed into Thailand, effective Dec 1, out of concern over the Omicron variant. The countries are Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

She said people arriving from other African nations would be quarantined at specific facilities for 14 days and be tested for Covid-19 three times. They could not enter the sandbox quarantine programme.

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