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Almost 23 Million Thais—One-Third of Nation—Seek Cash Handouts

A pedestrian wearing a protective face mask passes a restaurant offering take-away and food delivery services only due to coronavirus lockdown measures in Bangkok, on March 30.

A pedestrian wearing a protective face mask passes a restaurant offering take-away and food delivery services only due to coronavirus lockdown measures in Bangkok, on March 30.

Photographer: Andre Malerba/Bloomberg

One-third of Thailand’s population has registered for government cash handouts designed to soften the blow of the novel coronavirus outbreak, far exceeding the funds available for the policy.

Since registration opened on March 28, some 22.9 million people are seeking to claim the total of 15,000 baht ($455), Lavaron Sangsnit, head of the Finance Ministry’s Fiscal Policy Office, said in a briefing Thursday in Bangkok. The money is due to be paid over three months.