S.Korea unveils 6.6 bln USD of 4th extra budget to tackle COVID-19

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SEOUL, Sept. 10 (Xinhua) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Thursday that his administration drew up 7.8 trillion won (6.6 billion U.S. dollars) worth of extra budget, the fourth of its kind, to tackle the economic fallout from the COVID-19 resurgence here.

Speaking at the eighth round of emergency economic council meeting, the president said that it would be an “tailored” relief package to provide a heaviest financial support for those who suffered the most from the COVID-19 outbreak.

The president noted that the government’s support will be focused on the self-employed and microbusiness owners who were hit hardest by the COVID-19 resurgence, saying 3.8 trillion won (3.2 billion U.S. dollars) of the total would be spent on 3.77 million people.

Under the supplementary budget plan, microbusiness owners and the self-employed would receive up to 2 million won (1,690 U.S. dollars) in cash handouts.

Of the extra budget, 1.4 trillion won (1.2 billion U.S. dollars) will be spent to safeguard 1.19 million jobs, Moon said.

It would be the fourth supplementary budget this year to address the COVID-19 resurgence here. The budget plan is required for parliamentary approval.

The first extra budget plan worth 11.7 trillion won (9.9 billion U.S. dollars) was passed through the National Assembly on March 17, followed by the second one worth 12.2 trillion won (10.3 billion U.S. dollars) on April 30 and the third one worth 35.1 trillion won (29.6 billion U.S. dollars) on July 3 each.

As part of the supplementary budget, the government offered relief grants to all households in May, but the fourth extra budget will mainly support the microbusiness owners who suffered the most from the COVID-19 resurgence.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases grew in triple digits since Aug. 14 owing to cluster infections traceable to church services and a massively rally in central Seoul on Aug. 15 by conservative voters.

The government tightened the social-distancing guidelines to contain the virus spread, encouraging people to stay at home and avoid social gatherings and outside activity, such as eating out and shopping. Enditem

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