UTCC Warns of Severe Economic Impact if Government Reimposes Lockdown

Thailand’s economic recovery will be delayed if the government decides to reintroduce lockdown measures to contain a surge in COVID-19 omicron cases, the president of the Center for Economic and Business Forecasting, UTCC, warned on Friday.

Thanawat Polwichai, head of the Economic and Business Forecasting Center, the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said that, despite the number of omicron cases are increasing rapidly across the world given the fact that this variant is 4.2 times more transmissible than the delta variant in its early stages, the fatality rate remains low. He, therefore, calculated that the COVID omicron strain will have a minor impact on Thailand’s economy if the country is successful in controlling the pandemic.

However, if the hospitalization rate from the omicron increases, the state should act appropriately, but he has warned that a full lockdown would have a huge negative effect on Thailand’s GDP and would delay recovery until the fourth quarter of 2022. 

Besides that, he believes that halting the exemption from quarantine (Test & Go) program will have little damage on the Thai economy, as Thailand now derives approximately THB10 billion from tourism, which accounts for less than 0.05% of the country’s GDP.