S. Korea’s parliament passes 13-bln-USD extra budget to tackle COVID-19

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SEOUL, March 25 (Xinhua) — South Korea’s parliament on Thursday passed 14.9 trillion won (13.1 billion U.S. dollars) worth of extra budget bill to tackle the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill was passed through the unicameral National Assembly by 242 to 6 with 11 abstentions.

With the passage, the government planned to implement the relief grant package, the fourth of its kind, worth 20.7 trillion won (18.3 billion U.S. dollars).

Under the aid package, about 7.3 trillion won (6.4 billion U.S. dollars) will be spent on offering relief grants, ranging from 1 million won (880 U.S. dollars) to 5 million won (4,400 U.S. dollars), to the self-employed and microbusiness owners who were hit hard by the pandemic.

Mom and pop stores and small merchants suffered a drop in revenue as the government tightened social-distancing guidelines to contain the virus spread.

About 3.6 trillion won (3.2 billion U.S. dollars) was allotted for the jobless and other vulnerable employees, such as subcontract workers and freelancers, to help them ride out hardship from the pandemic.

Some 4.2 trillion won (3.7 billion U.S. dollars) was earmarked to finance the country’s vaccination campaign.

In the latest tally, the country has administered COVID-19 vaccines to over 730,000 people with 2,691 fully vaccinated.

The country reported 430 more cases of COVID-19 for the past 24 hours, raising the total number of infections to 100,276. The total cases topped 100,000 since the first case was found here in January last year. Enditem

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