Thai cabinet okays 22.2-bln-USD loan to revive economy amid COVID-19 spike hinh anh 1Medical workers at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Bangkok, Thailand, on April 7 (Photo: Xinhua/VNA)
Bangkok (VNA) Thailand on May 19 reported 3,394 new COVID-19 cases, raising the national count to 116,949; and 29 related fatalities, bringing the death toll to 678.

Over the previous 24 hours, there were 1,896 infections detected in the general public and 1,498 in prisons.

Since the third COVID-19 wave started at the beginning of April, there have been 88,086 cases in the Southeast Asian country.

The Thai cabinet has approved the draft of an executive decree authorising the government to borrow an additional 700 billion THB (22.25 billion USD) to revitalise the economy battered by the latest wave of COVID-19 infections, Bangkok Post quoted a government source as saying.

The draft was tabled at a cabinet meeting on May 18, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

The decree will authorise the government to borrow the money to rehabilitate the virus-hit economy as well as fund schemes to help people and entrepreneurs affected by the third wave of the pandemic which has been more severe than the two previous rounds, the source said.

Of the 700-billion-THB loan, about 30 billion THB will be earmarked for the procurement of medical supplies, vaccine shots, research and the renovation of hospitals, it added.

With the new loan, public debt, at the end of September, is estimated at 9.38 trillion THB or 58.6 percent of the GDP which is close to the fiscal sustainability framework ceiling of 60 percent.

The reason for issuing the new loan decree is because the government has almost used up the 1-trillion-THB loan under the decree issued last year to ease the economic impact during the first wave of COVID-19, according to the source.

On May 11, the cabinet approved the disbursement of about 834 billion THB under the 1-trillion-THB loan decree, with 166 billion THB remaining./.