UK government launches massive loan schemes to support businesses amid COVID-19 outbreak

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The British government launched Monday two new schemes with more than 330 billion pounds (384.4 billion U.S. dollars) of loans and guarantees to help firms keep operating amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

To small and medium businesses, the new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is available for application. The scheme will help viable business with a turnover of up to 45 million pounds (52.4 million dollars) to access government-backed finance of up to 5 million pounds (5.82 million dollars), said the government in a press statement.

Interest payments and lender-levied fees for businesses will be covered by the government for an initial period of up to 12 months, said the statement.

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility -- Bank of England's new lending facility for larger firms -- will also be open for applications to participate from Monday.

By purchasing short-term corporate debt, the scheme is open to firms that can demonstrate that they were in sound financial health prior to the impact of coronavirus, read the statement.

Last week, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak pledged the 330-billion-pound plan to help businesses get through the coronavirus outbreak.

"We are working round the clock to do whatever it takes to protect our people and businesses. That means that we are not only taking unprecedented action but doing so at unprecedented speed, because we know that businesses and their employees need help now," Sunak said Monday.

"Combined with steps taken by the government, this (COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility) will help companies through this difficult time and support the needs of the people of this country," said Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey.

As of 9a.m. (0900GMT) on Sunday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Britain reached 5,683, up 665 from the same point on Saturday, as the death toll hit 281. 

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