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Budget Speech

Fighting the Virus Together

23. The COVID‑19 epidemic starting from early 2020 has affected people's livelihood and the economy.  In response to this, the Government promptly set up the Anti‑epidemic Fund (AEF) to provide appropriate financial assistance for the affected individuals and businesses.

24. I am deeply grateful to the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council (LegCo) for promptly approving a further injection of $27 billion into the AEF last Tuesday, so that the sixth round of measures can be introduced under the AEF. These measures include providing support for the first time for the temporarily unemployed, with $3 billion earmarked for granting a subsidy of $10,000 to each eligible person.  I believe that the latest round of relief measures can help the public meet their imminent needs.  Counter‑cyclical measures were also launched in my previous two Budgets.  These measures, together with the relief measures under the AEF, involved a total financial commitment of over $460 billion.

25. Besides, government departments have also devoted substantial resources to fighting the epidemic, including providing isolation facilities at Penny's Bay and other appropriate locations, setting up a temporary hospital at the AsiaWorld‑Expo, launching the vaccination programme, providing testing services and increasing the supply of medications, medical equipment etc., involving a total of over $24 billion.



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