South Korea plans cash handouts in 2nd extra budget to fight coronavirus

South Korea plans cash handouts in 2nd extra budget to fight coronavirus

South Korean President Moon Jae In unveiled on Monday plans to hand out 1 million won ($816) to each four-person household below the top 30 percent of income earners, to cushion the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.

The cash handouts will be part of a 7.1 trillion won second extra budget being drawn up to boost the economy hit hard by the pandemic, just weeks after the country’s parliament approved the first special budget worth 11.7 trillion won.

Many South Koreans, battered by the coronavirus impact, have been waiting in anticipation for direct financial assistance from the government.

“Speed is the key to giving such emergency financial assistance, and the government will, therefore, submit the second extra budget as soon as possible,” Moon said at an emergency meeting of government officials.

The president urged the parliament to approve the spending measure just after the April 15 general election, adding that all South Koreans deserve to be compensated for the efforts they have made to stem the spread of the virus.

On Monday, South Korea reported 78 new coronavirus infections over 24 hours to the end of Sunday, taking the country’s confirmed tally to 9,661, with 158 deaths, according to the Health and Welfare Ministry.

Though the country is no longer logging as many new daily cases as it used to, health authorities are on the lookout for infection clusters and cases of infection imported by travelers from abroad.

The authorities have so far confirmed 476 cases of infection found in people newly arrived from overseas.

Prime Minister Chung Sye Kyun announced Sunday that starting Wednesday, all people arriving in the country from overseas will have to spend two weeks in self-isolation, regardless of their nationality.

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