The cabinet approved a second automatic visa extension for foreigners for three more months on Tuesday in a bid to prevent long queues at immigration centres and stem the spread of the coronavirus. Foreigners whose visas had expired since March 26 will be permitted to stay until July 31 without having to apply for an extension, said Narumon Pinyosinwat, spokeswoman for the Thai government.
A similar extension was granted until April 30. To combat the Covid-19 outbreak, Thailand has since late March banned entry to foreigners, except diplomats and work-permit holders. The cabinet also on Tuesday approved 98.7 billion baht in relief measures to help mitigate the impact of the outbreak, which is driving the country towards recession.
The economy could lose more than $40 billion and up to 10 million jobs due to the pandemic. The government agreed to increase the number of workers receiving cash handouts to 14 million from 9 million, deputy government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek said. That will increase its total handout by 75 billion baht. Each worker receives 15,000 baht. The government will also cut or waive electricity bills worth 23.7 billion baht for 22 million households.
The government has announced a series of steps worth billions of dollars to limit the impact of the outbreak. It plans to borrow 1 trillion baht to finance the measures. Earlier on Tuesday, Thailand confirmed 19 new coronavirus cases, the lowest daily increase since March 14, and one death, a 50-year-old taxi driver. The country recorded 2,811 coronavirus cases and 48 fatalities.