Ministers vow to hand out virus cash quickly - RTHK
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Ministers vow to hand out virus cash quickly

2020-02-23 HKT 12:43
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  • Matthew Cheung says a new committee will streamline procedures to ensure that relief cash reaches its targets. Photo: RTHK
    Matthew Cheung says a new committee will streamline procedures to ensure that relief cash reaches its targets. Photo: RTHK
Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung says he'll chair a government committee that will be set up next week to monitor the use of a HK30 billion relief fund, with the aim of distributing the money as quickly as possible

The relief package involves 20 measures to help businesses, people, as well as the Hospital Authority to cope with the coronavirus outbreak.

The government will use HK$10 billion of the fund to step up its efforts in handling the outbreak, such as offering financial support for the Hospital Authority and subsidising local production of face masks.

It will also spend HK$17 billion on one-off subsidies for those affected by the outbreak, including the needy and businesses such as travel agencies, eateries and retailers.

The remaining HK$3 billion will be earmarked for any emergency.

Writing on his blog, Cheung thanked lawmakers for quickly approving the government's funding request.

He said the virus outbreak has dealt a blow to the city's declining economy, affecting businesses and people's lives.

He said the new committee would streamline procedures for applications and hand out funds to people as quickly as possible.

Cheung said the virus situation was still severe, adding that containing it and protecting people's health are the government's top priorities.

Meanwhile, Development Secretary Michael Wong says construction workers and businesses should receive relief funds within two or three weeks of making an application.

The government has allocated HK$71 million to help the industry. That includes grants of HK$50,000 to about 7,000 contractors and sub-contractors to help improve hygiene at work, as well as HK$1,500 grants for 240,000 construction workers to buy personal protective gear and sanitisers.

Wong wrote on his blog that the industry urgently needed help and the Construction Industry Council would start accepting applications for aid from this week.