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South Korea's finance minister to prepare US$3.6 billion COVID-19 stimulus package

South Korea's finance minister to prepare US$3.6 billion COVID-19 stimulus package

Customers shop amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic at a giant mall in Seoul, South Korea, on Sep 22, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji)

SEOUL: South Korea's finance minister said on Friday (Dec 17) the government will prepare a new 4.3 trillion won (US$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, around 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 9pm and movie theatres and internet cafes by 10pm.

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. 

Source: Reuters/ad
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