President holds meeting to address economic impact of COVID-19

President Tsai Ing-wen 蔡英文 (CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) — President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) convened a national security meeting of senior officials Thursday to respond to the economic impact of the coronavirus disease 2019, COVID-19, amid the global spread of the virus.

As Taiwan quickly took preemptive action against the coronavius, the outbreak is largely under control, Tsai said after receiving reports on preparedness and response measures relating to COVID-19 from officials of various government agencies.

However, to cope with the potential impact of the epidemic on Taiwan’s economy, the government must move quickly to provide a short-term boost to the economy in order to maintain domestic economic vitality, Tsai said.

During the meeting, Tsai directed relevant government agencies to fully implement a slew of relief measures to help individuals and businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak now that a special act on COVID-19 prevention, relief and restoration has become law and the special NT$60 billion (US$1.99 billion) budget plan for coronavirus-related subsidies is being fast-tracked for legislative review to fund the new initiatives.

The president also instructed the re-allocation of nearly NT$40 billion from an employment stability fund and a tourism development fund for coronavirus-related relief measures.

Meanwhile, she said that more should be done to actively expand domestic demand, such as increasing government investment and public procurement spending on infrastructure projects.

Tsai said the government should also promote private investment and encourage overseas Taiwanese businesses to return and invest in Taiwan by removing barriers to investment.

In addition, she said the government should remain committed to stabilizing financial markets in Taiwan amid the rapid global spread of the coronavirus.