Thailand has earned international praise for its containment of the Covid-19 pandemic, with very modest levels of infections and less than 60 deaths as of July 1.
In response to its sweeping lockdown measures, the government launched an unprecedented emergency spending package of 2.2 trillion baht, amounting to nearly 13% of GDP.
Yet, the economic impact of the pandemic has been particularly harsh for Thailand, particularly on the country’s most vulnerable communities — those relying on the informal economy, migrant workers, farmers and others including women, children and the elderly.
“New Normal” outlook remains bleak
As life in the cities and countryside settles into a “new normal,” the outlook remains bleak. A range of forecasts suggests the Thai economy could contract by an annual 5% to as much as 10% in 2020 — among the sharpest projected declines in the East Asia and Pacific Region.
This is due partly to the country’s openness to trade and its exposure as a tourism hub – on top of an economic slowdown that was underway well before the…