The Hong Kong government will give permanent residents aged 18 and above HKD10,000 (RMB9,000) cash handouts amid the coronavirus outbreak.
A HKD120 billion relief package was unveiled by Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po on Wednesday morning. In addition to generous handouts for residents, the deal will fully guarantee loans to help companies pay their workers and taxes, according to South China Morning Post.
Other key measures of the relief deal include rebates in salary and property tax for individuals, waived fees for public exams to get into universities as well as lower profit tax for companies. The appropriation bill will need to be passed by the city’s legislative council before cash handouts are given.
Hong Kong’s economy has been battered in recent months due to both the coronavirus outbreak and civil unrest. Last month, Chan warned that the city’s deficit for the current financial year could be the biggest ever – as much as 3% of gross domestic product.
There have been 85 total reported cases of COVID-19 in Hong Kong, with two dead and 18 cured. While the rate of newly confirmed cases has slowed down in China, recent outbreaks in Italy, Iran and Korea have caused a greater concern around the globe. The World Health Organization has refrained from calling COVID-19 a pandemic, noting a positive trend with a drop in cases in China, as cited by NPR.