Shelves for instant noodles almost empty. (File photo)

3 million free bags of instant noodles run out after 6 hours

It took only 6 hours for people to register for 3 million bags of free instant noodles from the Sahapat Group (SPC), one of the country’s major household product companies. Registration for the handout campaign was due to last 1 week.

The SPC website announces that the free noodle giveaway has reached the limit. It also shows that Thailand Post and Advanced Info Service (AIS) were part of the campaign

Launched at 08.00 on 26 July, SPC, via the Dr Thiam Chokwatana Foundation, aimed to distribute its Bami Suesat (Honesty Noodles) to applicants living in Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom, Samut Sakhon and Samut Prakan, areas where Covid-19 infections are high

According to the SPC website, successful applicants will receive a box containing 30 bags of noodles. Each household can apply only once. Matichon reported that supplies had run out by 14.00.

The donation scheme comes as Covid-19 related death and infection rates are soaring. As of 27 July, there have been 526,828 cases of infection, 171,921 hospitalizations and 4,264 deaths. 

The numbers have not diminished despite the past 2 weeks of lockdown in 10 highly-infected provinces. Slow relief measures, the forced shutdown of many businesses and restricted social activities are severely affecting employment and the economic wellbeing of many people.

The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) estimated on 7 July that GDP growth in 2021 may be around 0.0-1.5 percent, down from a previous estimate of 0.5-2.0 percent. Despite an expected growth in exports, the pandemic and inaccessibility of vaccines are significant risk factors.

A report from the World Bank in January 2021 stated that 5.2 million Thai people sank below the poverty line of US$5.50 income per day in 2020, an increase of 1.5 million over 2019.

The report urged the government to implement a financial relief policy in order to ease the economic tension from loss of employment and income caused by Covid-19.

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