ROK sets US$8.5 bln package to fight new coronavirus wave - finmin

Tuesday, 2020-12-29 10:47:22
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Republic of Korea (ROK) unveiled a fresh KRW9.3 trillion (US$8.49 billion) package on Tuesday to support small businesses hit by a third wave of coronavirus and those vulnerable to unemployment due to the outbreak.

Of the total package, KRW5.6 trillion will be used to fund cash handouts to coronavirus-struck small businesses, temporary or freelance workers and taxi drivers affected by the prolonged pandemic, the finance ministry said.

Some KRW2.9 trillion will be used to support small and medium-sized businesses including ski resorts and hotels, which received damage from the government's year-end special COVID-19 regulations, and to keep more Koreans in jobs.

The ROK government has added new restrictions this week such as banning on gatherings of more than four people and suspending ski resorts and tourist sports, aimed at stopping the virus spread during Christmas and New Year holidays.

Another KRW0.8 trillion is aimed at strengthening the public health system.

The ministry said the cash handouts will be offered starting from Jan. 11, and expects that the latest measures could help around a total 5.8 million people.

On Monday, the country vowed to speed up efforts to launch a coronavirus vaccination programme as it continued to report near-record daily cases and discovered its first cases of the coronavirus variant linked to Britain.

Meanwhile, the US$8.5 billion package will be funded by the finance ministry's reserve fund, leftover budget for the year as well as 2021 budget, the ministry said in a statement.