HK's LegCo approves 137.5 bln HKD funding to fight pandemic
The Legislative Council (LegCo) of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on Saturday approved to allocate 137.5 billion HK dollars (about 17.7 billion U.S. dollars) to prop up businesses and aid residents struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The package includes a plan under which the government will pay 50 percent of workers' salaries for six months, with the monthly subsidy for each worker capped at 9,000 HK dollars.
This is the second anti-epidemic fund the government has committed to allocate for the pandemic relief.
Together with the first round of relief measures under the Anti-epidemic Fund worth 30 billion HK dollars and the relief measures in the 2020-21 Budget costing 120 billion HK dollars, the SAR government has committed a total of 287.5 billion HK dollars, accounting for 10 percent of Hong Kong's Gross Domestic Product.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam welcomed the passage of the funding in a statement. "The pandemic has caused an unprecedented impact on Hong Kong's economy in the past three months," Lam said, adding that various sectors have suffered a hard blow with many businesses facing pressure to close down and massive staff layoffs being anticipated.
The government needs to take resolute and exceptional measures to prevent the situation from deteriorating and relieve the imminent need of the businesses and the employees, she added.
As of Friday, Hong Kong has a confirmed total number of 1,021 cases with 532 patients discharged from hospitals.