Japan’s Cabinet on Tuesday decided to use 1.64 trillion yen ($15.5 billion) in reserve funds for fiscal 2020 to beef up the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, including contributions to an international framework to develop vaccines.
The emergency funding includes 739.4 billion yen to support local governments in securing enough rooms at hospitals and hotels for COVID-19 patients and 314.2 billion yen for a no-interest loan program for households that have seen incomes fall sharply due to the pandemic.
To help medical institutions prepare for seasonal influenza patients this fall and winter, the government will allocate 217.0 billion yen.
It will also extend 17.2 billion yen to the COVAX Facility, an international framework to develop and purchase vaccines for COVID-19.
The government has set aside a total of 11.5 trillion yen in reserve funds under two extra budgets for the year through next March to be used in the fight against the pandemic.
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It has separately earmarked 500 billion yen in reserve funds under the initial budget for the fiscal year, and on Tuesday the Cabinet also decided to spend 31.5 billion yen of the funds to help rebuild areas in southwestern Japan hit hard by torrential rain and flooding in July.