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Coronavirus

Thai cash handout program creates risky crowds amid coronavirus

Government's clumsy communication exposes public to greater chance of contagion

Thailand's Government Saving Bank did not offer new bank account opening services at branches on Monday and Tuesday. (Photo by Akira Kodaka)

BANGKOK -- As the COVID-19 pandemic widens in Southeast Asia, Thailand has ramped up efforts to mitigate the economic impact -- but sometimes at the risk of greater contagion.

Long queues with minimal social distancing formed at state bank branches opening up an account for dispensing a 5,000 baht ($150) cash handout, while clumsy announcements from national and provincial administrations created crowds.

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