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Healthcare

UPDATE 1-Thailand agrees $1.3 bln of measures to ease impact of COVID-19 curbs

(Adds detail, comments from government spokesman, PM)

BANGKOK, July 13 (Reuters) - Thailand on Tuesday approved 42 billion baht ($1.29 billion) of relief measures to help ease the impact of stricter coronavirus curbs, government officials said, as the Southeast Asian country deals with its worst outbreak so far.

The government imposed more stringent measures on Monday in the capital and nine provinces, including limits on travel and gatherings, mall closures and a curfew.

It will offer 30 billion baht to affected businesses and workers in those areas, government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said in a statement.

Workers in certain sectors will receive 5,000 baht ($153)each, while business operators will be entitled to 3,000 baht per worker for up to 200 workers, he said.

The government will also provide two-month utility subsidies worth 12 billion baht for businesses and households nationwide, Anucha said.

“Although the remedy requires a reasonable budget, it is necessary to help people get through this crisis,” Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha posted on his Facebook page.

The finance ministry and central bank will discuss with commercial banks financial relief measures to help debtors, while the cabinet will consider additional measures to support smaller firms, Anucha said.

Thailand is struggling with recurring outbreaks, and the central bank on Monday warned that growth could miss its forecasts. ($1 = 32.55 baht) (Reporting by Orathai Sriring and Panarat Thepgumpanat Editing by Ed Davies, Martin Petty)

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