Gov’t seeks to send emergency virus handouts this week: sources

SEOUL, The government is seeking to begin doling out emergency handouts later this week to help people recover from the impact of nationwide efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19, officials said Sunday.
Earlier this month, the government drew up its fourth supplementary budget of the year worth 7.8 trillion won (US$6.6 billion), which includes cash handouts and other relief to households, merchants and self-employed people bearing the brunt of the ongoing antivirus fight.
According to the officials from the finance ministry and other relevant state agencies, the government has set a tentative timetable of providing the handouts from as early as later this week on the condition that the supplementary budget can be approved by the National Assembly by Tuesday as it has requested.
If the budget is approved as hoped, the government plans to begin sending relief funds worth 200,000 won to families whose children are preschoolers and elementary students from as early as Friday.
The relief money is aimed at helping those people having trouble taking care of their kids as kindergartens and schools are closed due to tightened social distancing rules.
Freelancers and others whose job security has been threatened by the pandemic will also able to receive state handouts from later this week to early next week, the sources said.
Small merchants suffering losses due to restrictions in operation are also expected to receive the handouts ranging from 1-2 million won from early next week.
“Preparations are under way to provide as many handouts as possible before the Chuseok holiday,” a finance ministry official said. Chuseok, one of the country’s largest traditional holidays, begins later this month.
The handouts are the second of their kind since the government provided relief funds, totaling 14.3 trillion won, to all households in a bid to ease the strain on their livelihoods from the global pandemic.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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