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(LEAD) S. Korea to announce plan for 2nd round of virus emergency handouts next week

All News 21:44 September 04, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with details on fourth extra budget and background in paras 3, 6-9)

SEOUL, Sept. 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea aims to announce a plan next week to provide a second round of emergency handouts to people hit by a recent resurgence of new coronavirus infections, Vice Finance Minister Kim Yong-beom said Friday.

South Korea tightened social distancing rules in mid-August, as daily new infections jumped to triple-digit rises, dashing hope of a swift recovery in private consumption.

On Friday, South Korea reported 198 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total caseload to 20,842.

The government has been reviewing a plan to offer the emergency handouts to small merchants and self-employed people who have suffered from the tightened social distancing rules, Kim said.

Part-time and freelance workers could be eligible for the second round of handouts, Kim said.

During a meeting later in the day, the government and the ruling Democratic Party tentatively agreed to draw up a new extra budget worth between 7 trillion won (US$5.8 billion) and 9 trillion won to fund the emergency handouts, a party official said.

The meeting was led by Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki and Rep. Han Jeoung-ae, the DP policy chief.

In July, the National Assembly passed the third extra budget worth 35.1 trillion won to mitigate the economic fallout of the new coronavirus pandemic.

The government and the ruling party plan to hold a meeting on Sunday to finalize the amount of the handouts.

In May, the government offered relief funds totaling 14.3 trillion won (US$12 billion) to all households as part of efforts to cushion the economic fallout from the new coronavirus.

The amount of the handouts varied from 400,000 won for single-person households to 1 million won for households with four or more members.

Vice Finance Minister Kim Yong-beom speaks at a meeting with senior officials on Sept. 1, 2020, in this photo provided by the ministry. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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