The Trump government wants to send cheques to its population within two weeks, which a senior US official said could total as much as US$1.2 trillion. “It’s going to be big, and it’s going to be bold,” US President Donald Trump said.

By Ian Horswill


Posted on March 18, 2020

The coronavirus COVID-19 has infected 184,976 people across the world and killed just over 7,500, according to the World Health Organization.

In optimistic news, the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose in Italy to 31,506, an increase of 12.6%, which is the slowest rate of increase since the contagion first came to light on 21 February. Italy is the European country hardest hit by the coronavirus.

Gambia became the latest country to record a confirmed case of coronavirus – a 20-year-old woman who had recently flown in from the UK.

The incidence of coronavirus COVID-19 across the world on 17 March.
The incidence of coronavirus COVID-19 across the world. The red colour is China with 82,007 with the light yellow countries under 10,000. Source: WHO

The US, UK, Spain and Italy announced billion-dollar stimuluses and we detail what countries are doing to help their economies survive the coronavirus pandemic.

US

The Trump government wants to send cheques to its population within two weeks, which a senior US official said could total as much as US$1.2 trillion; US$8.3 billion in emergency spending; US$100 billion, not yet approved, includes some guarantees for paid sick leave and funding for coronavirus testing.

“It’s going to be big, and it’s going to be bold,” US President Donald Trump said at a White House briefing.

UK

Brexit

A UK£330 billion package of Government-backed loans for firms of all sizes to help pay employees’ wages – the equivalent of 15% of the country’s GDP;
UK£20 billion including grants of up to UK£25,000 for small firms, and a full year without business rates for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.

“I want to reassure every British citizen that this Government will give you all the tools you need to get through this. We will support jobs, we will support incomes, we will support businesses and we will help you protect your loved ones. We will do whatever it takes,” said UK Treasurer Rishi Sunak.

“This is not a time for ideology or orthodoxy. This is a time to be bold.”

Italy

Giuseppe Conte, coronavirus

A €25 billion package including €3.5 billion for the health sector, state underwriting for a portion of companies’ property rental costs, subsidies for the self-employed and a nine-month mortgage relief plan for self-employed and other non-salaried workers, a state guarantee of up to €5 million for small and medium-sized businesses, liquidity assistance by state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti SpA for companies and 15 days of parental leave for private-sector employees with children under the age of 12.

“We’re trying to build a dam to protect workers and families,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said. “We will put forward more measures with a plan for significant investments, which we will push through at a speed our country has never seen.”

Spain

€200 billion package, a fifth of its GDP, includes a moratorium on mortgage payments for people adversely affected by the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

Water, electricity and internet to vulnerable households guaranteed. Up to €100 million used to guarantee liquidity for businesses. All self-employed workers who lose business will receive financial aid.

“We aren’t going to leave anyone behind,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in a televised speech. “The state is going to take on the economic shock.”

Australia

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison

A$17.6 billion, representing 0.9% of the country’s GDP, with three-quarters of stimulus for business, with a A$6.7 billion cashflow payment pegged to employee wages, A$4 billion tied to new investment incentives, A$1.2 billion to support apprentices, and a A$1 billion fund for hard-hit sectors such as tourism. It also included a A$750 cash payment to more than six million low-income earners. Businesses also allowed to defer tax obligations.

“This A$11 billion injection of funds through to June 30 could add up to 1.5% to growth to GDP in that June quarter, but of course the unknown is how does the virus evolve from here,” Australia’s Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.

“What we have done here is put a significant amount of money into the economy to support businesses (and) to support jobs.”

New Zealand

Jacinda Ardern

NZ$12 billion, which is 4% of GDP, for toward wage subsidies for businesses (NZ$5 billion), income support (NZ$2.8 billion), business tax relief (NZ$2.8 billion), and NZ$600 million for the airline industry. It is in separate talks with Air New Zealand, MarketWatch reported.

“We are going to see many New Zealanders lose their jobs, and some businesses fail,” said Finance Minister Grant Robertson. “We will have an extended period of deficits and our debt as a country will have to substantially increase.”

Hong Kong

A fiscal stimulus package in its 2020-2021 budget on February 26, 2020.18 included a US$1200 cash subsidy to all adult permanent residents, paying one month’s rent for people living in public housing, cutting payroll, income, property, and business taxes, low-interest, government-guaranteed loans for businesses and additional month’s worth of payments to people collecting old-age or disability benefits.

South Korea

A US$9.8 billion stimulus included subsidies to help small and medium companies pay workers, child-care subsidies and job retraining for people who have lost jobs.

The International Monetary Fund

US$50 billion in loans available to deal with the coronavirus, including US$10 billion of zero-interest loans to the poorest IMF member countries. On March 16, the IMF said it, “stands ready to mobilise its US$1 trillion lending capacity to help our membership.”