The novel COVID-19 pandemic has been shaking the natural functioning of countries and the population since January. While citizens are struggling to survive the pandemic, nations across the world have also come up with a bunch of relief solutions for individuals, businesses, and the economy. For instance, on Thursday, India announced a USD 22.5 billion relief packages fund that will be distributed to lower-income families to cope with the nationwide lockdown.
The life-threatening virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has claimed over 22,192 lives since January and has affected more than 5 lakh people around the world. While doctors and scientists work their way hard to develop a cure, here's a list of countries that are acting in the interest of affected businesses and the people:
To support the vulnerable amid coronavirus outbreak, the Government of India has announced ‘Garib Kalyan Yojna’ worth INR 1.7 lakh crore (USD 22.5 billion) which includes cash transfer to farmers, widow/pensioners, and MNREGA, along with boosting benefits under the Jan Dhan Yojna, Ujjwala Scheme and EPFO.
The announcement was much required and would provide relief to almost 800 million people in the country. This would prevent the rise of any social disturbances at the time of scarcity of resources. While it will add INR 1.7 trillion to the Government's fiscal deficit, it is likely to restore faith among people who will help the economy to recover post-pandemic.
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The US Senate approved a USD 2 trillion relief package to address the rapid rise in the country’s coronavirus positive cases. With this step, every citizen will receive a direct payment of up to USD 1,200 in their bank accounts with an additional payment of USD 500 per child. The Government has also allocated USD 127 billion for additional aid to hospitals, medical supplies, preparation of vaccines, masks, and medical supplies.
The Government also announced an emergency relief package, which includes a three-month paid emergency leave if they are affected by the virus. The country also declared a state of emergency, allowing the Federal Government to distribute USD 50 billion in financial aid to cities, states, and territories.
The German Government has introduced a stimulus package of over 750 billion euros (USD 810 billion). Also, KfW, the German state bank, announced that it would lend as much as 550 billion euros (USD 610 billion) to companies to help them survive the pandemic.
The country has also banned religious services within borders until further notice, banning all public gatherings of more than 50 people, and children below 16 are prohibited from visiting medical facilities. All the railway routes and regional transport across the country have also been restricted to contain the pandemic.
The United Kingdom
The United Kingdom has sanctioned a whopping amount of 330 billion pounds ($424 billion) to fight the pandemic. The Government has also announced a loan guarantee to businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The Boris Johnson government has also cut off business rates for this financial year, and the insurers have been asked to pay the complete amount to firms covered for the pandemics.
The French Government has taken robust measures to isolate people to a greater extent. The Police have handed out over 4,000 fines to people who have been outside for non-essential purposes as the country is also observing a full lockdown. The penalties have been hiked up to keep people from stepping out, and military personnel will be responsible for transporting patients to the hospitals.
Additionally, the Government has also suspended utility bills and rent for smaller enterprises, along with launching an "exceptional and massive" initiative to help workers who have lost their jobs. Meanwhile, the Government has also guaranteed 300 billion euros (USD 335 billion) worth of loans to support businesses get through the pandemic.
The Government of Spain has sanctioned an amount of 200 billion euros (USD 220 billion), which is the most significant financial aid in the country's history. Out of the total amount, 1178 billion euros will be mobilized by the state and the rest will be sourced by private companies in Spain. The Government has also guaranteed loans worth 100 billion euros for small and medium-sized businesses suffering during the pandemic.
Saudi Arabia announced a relief package of USD 32 billion to support the economy as the pandemic also lowered oil prices. The kingdoms announced the postponing of fee payments by private sectors and the collection of customs duties at the airports. Additionally, the Saudi Government also canceled value-added tax, income tax, and other taxes from businesses for the next three months.
The Italian Government declared the country a highly contaminated area and has also enforced a complete lockdown. They have announced a rescue package of around 25 billion euros (USD 28 billion), which includes 10 billion euros to support employment, 3.5 billion euros to support the healthcare system, and individual cash bonuses to the citizens who are working during the nationwide lockdown.
The package also guarantees loans to small and medium enterprises that are hit by the pandemic. The Government has also laid out measures to provide financial relief to citizens as families can now apply for permission to waive off their mortgage payments in their business shuts down, threatening their livelihoods. Also, parents can claim up to 600 euros from the Government to pay babysitters during the coronavirus pandemic.
Japan has implemented some stringent measures to secure its borders. The country has imposed a ban on any tourist entries from China and South Korea until the end of April. The Japanese Government announced a penalty on reselling of face masks; those found reselling these masks will either get a 1-year jail term, a fine of 1 million yen (USD 9,301), or both. They have also announced a relief package of 1 trillion yen (USD 9.6 billion). USD 4 billion was also sanctioned to fund several programs and schemes, including packages that promote increased manufacturing of masks and other medical devices and protection of nursing homes. Additionally, the Bank of Japan announced 0 percent interest loan programs to help businesses hit during the pandemic.