New Covid-19 relief package expands recipient base, promises easier access

By Hoai Thu, Viet Tuan, Hoang Phuong   July 2, 2021 | 07:00 pm PT
New Covid-19 relief package expands recipient base, promises easier access
Poor people get in line to receive charity meals in HCMC, June 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.
A new VND26 trillion ($1.13 billion) Covid-19 relief package will expand the list of recipients to include patients, preschool teachers, artists and tour guides.

The government issued a resolution Thursday on releasing the second pandemic relief package to help poor individuals and businesses hit by Covid-19.

The first VND62 trillion package was launched in April last year.

Compared to the previous one, the new package will reach more groups of individuals: confirmed Covid-19 patients, those sent to centralized quarantine zones, children, preschool teachers and teachers at private schools, artists working for state-owned units, and tour guides.

Covid-19 patients will receive VND80,000 per day, counting from the beginning of the fourth Covid-19 wave on April 27 until the end of this year, but each patient will get no more than VND3.6 million ($156). People staying in centralized quarantine zones (for having direct contact with an infection) will receive the same amount with a maximum limit of VND1.68 million.

The package will cover the treatment costs of children with Covid-19 as well as daily meals for children in centralized camps, apart from giving each child in both categories an extra sum of VND1 million.

Artists managed by state-owned units will receive VND3.71 million if they have had to stop working for more than 15 days in a row.

All licensed tour guides will receive VND3.71 million.

Laborers who have to stop working for being sent to quarantine zones or kept in areas under lockdown for more than 14 days will get VND1 million.

Those who lost their jobs because their employers had to stop operations under Covid-19 safety measures spread will be given VND3.71 million.

Another update in the new package is local authorities will directly allocate support fund to informal workers, who don't have a labor contract. Cities and provinces will set up their own categories to recognize this group of workers, who will receive at least VND1.5 million each.

"Informal workers are hard to define, but they are the labor group hardest hit by the pandemic," said Minister of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs Dao Ngoc Dung.

"Administrative procedures for people to access the fund will be cut by two-thirds compared to the first package," Dung said.

Family businesses that had to suspend for at least 15 days will be given VND3 million.

Businesses will be given loans with zero percent interest to compensate workers that they have to lay off. The same policy is applied for businesses in transport, tourism and other services to resume operations after having to shut down due to the pandemic.

The first package targets six categories of individuals and businesses: People having lost their jobs due to the Covid-19, unemployed part-time workers who have not received related benefits, poor and near-poor households, households with a record of meritorious services, household businesses, and businesses that suffered financial difficulties or had to suspend operations.

As of May this year, only 22 percent of the first package had been disbursed.

The second package is announced at a time when Vietnam is battling its fourth Covid-19 wave that has infected more than 14,500 people in over two months.

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