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Korea to dole out relief funds to 88% of Koreans

 
(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)
South Korea plans to provide 250,000 won ($214) for each individual in a disaster relief fund to help revive the sagging economy hit by the prolonged pandemic, officials said Monday.

Subsidies worth a total of 11 trillion won are to be given to households in the bottom 80 percent income bracket. But, as special standards apply to single-person households and dual-income households, about 88 percent of the total population will receive them.

As for single-person households, they are eligible for the fund if their health insurance fee is less than 170,000 won. The government said that employees with annual incomes of 58 million won or less may be eligible for the application.

Applications start on Sept. 6, and people can use the money beginning a day later. If the funds are not used by Dec. 31, the balance will be returned to the state.

Permanent foreign residents (F-5 visa holders) and marriage immigrants (F-6) are eligible for the fund regardless of their resident registrations, as long as they meet the health insurance qualifications.

Foreign nationals are also eligible for the funds if they are on a resident registration list -- either as foreign spouses who don’t yet have a F-6 visa or as the children of South Korean nationals -- and they pay 170,000 won or less in monthly health insurance fees.

New social distancing plans for the Chuseok holiday will also be announced Friday.

Ahead of the national three-day holiday, coronavirus infections have shown no sign of slowing, and the number of confirmed cases could grow again at any time due to the highly contagious delta variant.

Senior health official Sohn Young-rae said in an online regular briefing Sunday, “Considering that the vaccination rate is rising, we are carefully reviewing whether we can allow family meetings during the Chuseok holiday.”

Currently, with the toughest Level 4 social distancing rules, families who do not live together are allowed to gather only in groups of up to two after 6 p.m.

As of Sunday midnight, the number of new confirmed cases increased by 1,487 in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 250,051. The number fell by 132 from the previous day, but it is hard to say that the spread has slowed due to the weekend effect, experts say.

So far about 28.6 million people have received the first shot and 14.61 million people are fully vaccinated. More than a quarter of the nation’s total population is now fully inoculated.

By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)
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