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Thailand has a growing number of confirmed cases as part of the Covid-19 global pandemic, with new cases reported every day and many more assumed to be undetected. Vulnerable populations in rural communities and poverty-effected areas are highly at risk, where they are out of reach of the healthcare system, which is under strain. Poverty and underlying health issues often come together. Nationwide there are dangerous shortages of facemasks, hand sanitizer, personal protective clothing for health workers and ventilators. These shortages will be felt the most in remote, poverty-stricken areas, significantly compounding the risk of loss of life.

Additionally, the world has now entered a global recession predicted by the IMF to be more severe than 2009 Financial Crisis (IMF, 2020). Thailand is heavily affected, with the Covid-19 crisis also coinciding with severe drought and slumped oil prices. This is set to disproportionately affect the poor working in the informal economy, outside of the social security system and reliant on income from their micro-enterprises. Official household debt is 78% (BoT, 2018), highlighting the vulnerability of families to economic shocks. Domestic spending is significantly down as well as products for export to Europe and US, affecting those at the bottom of the value chain the most, who have less to fall back on.