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Economic fallout from 4th wave of pandemic to loom larger from Aug: minister

All News 08:05 August 12, 2021

SEOUL, Aug. 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's top economic policymaker said Thursday the economic fallout of the fourth wave of the pandemic will be "inevitable" starting in August amid concerns that the recent virus resurgence will likely slow the economic recovery.

Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki said the government will make efforts to minimize the economic shocks from the latest flare-up in COVID-19 cases. For over a month, the greater Seoul area, along with other regions, have been under tougher virus curbs, which include limiting business operations and banning certain types of private gatherings.

A day earlier, the minister said the third quarter will be a critical period in deciding whether the South Korean economy can achieve the 2021 growth target of 4.2 percent amid spiking COVID-19 cases.

The country's new daily virus infections have topped 1,000 for more than a month despite the tougher distancing rules. Its daily new coronavirus cases hit a new high of 2,223 on Wednesday, raising the total to 216,206.

The latest resurgence in COVID-19 cases and the fast spread of the highly transmissible delta variant have emerged as major downside risks for the economic recovery.

The country created an extra budget of 34.9 trillion won (US$30.2 billion) to finance another round of emergency relief funds for smaller merchants and people in the bottom 88 percent income bracket hit hard by COVID-19.

The government seeks to provide more than 90 percent of the relief aid to the recipients by the end of September.

This photo, taken Aug. 5, 2021, shows stores with for lease signs in the shopping district of Myeongdong in central Seoul amid the fourth wave of the pandemic. (Yonhap)


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