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Parliament set to handle extra budget bill over coronavirus

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

The National Assembly is set to handle an extra budget bill Tuesday that is designed to strengthen quarantine measures and minimize the economic fallout from the new coronavirus.

Rival parties earlier agreed to handle the proposal by Tuesday, the last day of the current extraordinary parliamentary session, amid an urgency to back up the government's efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The government submitted an 11.7 trillion-won ($9.53 billion) supplementary budget bill to the National Assembly in early March.

Rival parties have yet to narrow the gap on how much they will adjust the size of the proposed budget.

The subpanel of the special budget commission earlier decided to increase the size of the budget by 6 trillion won during its review, in consideration of the need for bold actions to prop up the slowing economy.

The ruling Democratic Party said a larger budget bill should be passed as small business owners and firms suffer severe economic fallout.

But the main opposition United Future Party called for curtailing some money, saying the proposed budget contains spending plans unrelated to COVID-19 containment.

The proposed extra budget is bigger than an 11.6 trillion-won supplementary budget created to cope with the MERS outbreak in 2015.

President Moon Jae-in said Monday that if the virus outbreak protracts, the country may need to draw up another extra budget.

South Korea has reported 8,236 cases of the virus and 75 deaths since the first case on Jan. 20. (Yonhap)
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