S.Korea’s fin min to prepare $3.6 billion COVID-19 stimulus package

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FILE PHOTO: Customers shop amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic at a giant mall in Seoul

SEOUL – South Korea’s finance minister said on Friday the government will prepare a new 4.3 trillion won ($3.6 billion) stimulus package to help support small-sized and self-employed businesses hurt by the reimposition of tougher COVID-19 curbs.

Of the total package, some 3.2 trillion won would be allocated to provide 1 million won each to 3.2 million small business owners that experienced a decrease in sales.

On Thursday, the prime minister said the country will reinstate stricter social distancing rules a month-and-a-half after easing them under a ‘living with COVID-19’ policy, as the number of new infections and serious cases spirals.

Curbs will return from Saturday to Jan. 2, limiting gatherings to no more than four people – as long as they are fully vaccinated – and forcing restaurants, cafes and bars to close by 9 p.m. and movie theatres and internet cafes by 10 p.m.

The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 7,435 cases for Thursday, near the record daily count of 7,850 earlier this week.

Friday’s stimulus package comes weeks after the parliament approved a record 607.7 trillion won budget for 2022 to support a swifter economic recovery and help those hit by the pandemic.

($1 = 1,184.9700 won)

(Reporting by Joori Roh; editing by Richard Pullin)


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