Poor, students, firms to share HK$25bn war chest - RTHK
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Poor, students, firms to share HK$25bn war chest

2020-02-14 HKT 18:32
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  • Poor, students, firms to share HK$25bn war chest
The government has announced a HK$25 billion package of subsidies for various groups of residents and different kinds of businesses hit by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, promising there's even more to come in this month's budget.

Around 200,000 low-income families will get a one-off grant of around HK$5,000 per household, while student subsidies will rise from HK$2,500 to HK$3,500, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said at a media briefing.

Property management firms responsible for cleaning up buildings will get HK$26,000, and extra payments will be given to cleaners and security staff.

Travel agencies can claim up to HK$80,000, while large restaurants can get up to HK$200,000, and smaller ones HK$80,000.

Hawkers aren't being left out either, with subsidies of HK$5,000 for them.

An extra HK$4.7 billion will be allocated to the Hospital Authority, and the government will directly subsidise private firms that set up local manufacturing lines for protective face masks. They will also assist in the development of reusable face masks.

Lam said the government has enough face masks to last its workers around two months, and it will hand out 1.6 million masks via NGOs to needy, elderly people.

At the briefing, Lam also said that Hong Kong has not seen a large-scale community outbreak of the virus so far, and health authorities have been able to track the infections recorded.

She said the government is committed to fighting, and defeating, the epidemic.

"Today’s initiative to announce the setting up of this fund with an estimated amount of HK$25 billion is again one of those commitments to the people of Hong Kong", Lam said.

"So my biggest concern now is really for us to overcome this public health crisis together, so that we can then focus on relaunching Hong Kong and rebuilding Hong Kong’s economic strength."

Lam acknowledged that "this is a pretty large sum of money, but we are facing an almost unprecedented situation", saying if the people consider the measures to be necessary, the amount being spent "is not the most important factor."

"This time, the government has taken some bold and decisive steps to help different sectors", Lam concluded.

She was flanked by several other officials, with only Health Secretary Sophia Chan wearing a face mask after Lam said earlier that senior members of the administration should only wear them if they are sick or going into crowded places.

Last updated: 2020-02-14 HKT 19:09