The city-state Singapore announced financial packages of worth $4.5 billion to help in the containment of the deadly coronavirus outbreak in the country and do with its economic impact. Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat while delivering his annual budget speech stated that a planned increase in goods and services tax will not take place in 2021 considering the current situation of the economy as it recorded the lowest growth in a decade last year.

The country has already cut its forecasts of growth in 2020 because of an expected blow to the economy incurred due to the coronavirus outbreak and also flagged the chance of recession this year. "Just as the global economy was beginning to recover, the coronavirus...outbreak hit us," said Heng. "The outbreak will certainly impact our economy...Our first concern is to protect you and your families."

Schemes involve an S$800 million package to fight coronavirus

Singapore city
Singapore city Reuters

The schemes involve an S$800 million ($575 million) package to fight and contain the disease, mainly through additional healthcare funding, and a further S$5.6 billion ($4 billion) in measures to help manage its impact on businesses and jobs. The economic packages include support for businesses to manage wage bills, corporate income tax rebates and specific schemes to help firms in the hard-hit tourism and aviation sectors.

The Southeast Asian city-state has reported 77 cases of the virus to date, one of the highest tallies outside China where it has claimed over 1,800 lives. The economic fallout from the epidemic spread to US technology titan Apple, which warned of iPhone shortages and lower than expected revenue, while South Korea's president called the situation in his country an economic emergency.