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Gov't to submit extra budget bill on coronavirus Thursday

All News 08:27 March 02, 2020

SEOUL, March 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's finance minister said Monday the government plans to submit an extra budget bill to fight the fast spread of the new coronavirus this week, expressing readiness for its swift implementation.

The government has been drawing up the bill to submit to the National Assembly on Thursday, Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki told a consultative meeting with ruling party and government officials over the virus outbreak.

"The best way to overcome the economic fallout from the coronavirus crisis is to end the outbreak as fast as we can," Hong said.

He did not elaborate on the size of the supplementary budget, but it will be larger than the 6.2 trillion won (US$5.12 billion) set aside to handle the 2015 outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

If created, the budget will be used to support the government's quarantine measures and help smaller merchants hard hit by the outbreak.

Rival political parties agreed Sunday to pass the supplementary budget bill during the extraordinary parliamentary session that will end on March 17.

South Korea is struggling to contain the rapid spread of COVID-19, with the bulk of infections linked to a church in the southeastern city of Daegu. The country has reported 3,736 cases of the new coronavirus so far.

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki (2nd from L) speaks at a consultative meeting between ruling and government officials over an extra budget bill on the new coronavirus at the National Assembly on March 2, 2020. (Yonhap)

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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