Austria announces 4.4B-USD coronavirus aid fund to support economy

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 15, 2020
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The Austrian government on Mar. 14 announced a four-billion-euro (4.4-billion-U.S.-dollar) coronavirus aid package to guarantee liquidity, secure jobs and help in cases of hardship.

The fund will be used to stabilize health care, stimulate the labor market, maintain public order and cushion loss of income as a result of the coronavirus epidemic, said Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz at a press conference.

"The 2020 budget will not be a balanced one," Finance Minister Gernot Blumel told reporters. "A balanced budget is always important, but the health of the Austrian people is more important."

As of Monday, companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak should be able to apply for a new short-time working model, according to Economy Minister Margarete Schrambock.

The short-time working model will be available within 48 hours. Previously it took more than six weeks to apply. For the first time, it will be possible for employees to be 100 percent at home, while remaining employed by their companies.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Austria rose to 655 as of Saturday afternoon, with one death and six recovered from the illness, according to health authorities.

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