COVID19: Government 2021 budget ‘unaffected’ by second wave

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Cyprus’ state budget 2021 is not affected by the recent surge of coronavirus cases which has led to a local lockdown of Limassol and Paphos, triggering more financial support for employees and businesses.

Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides told the Cyprus News Agency on Tuesday the latest COVID-19 spike will not derail the state budget nor financial support for the country’s health system.

“Not only is the 2021 budget not affected by the latest developments of the coronavirus pandemic in Cyprus, but its approval by the parliament becomes more imperative”, Petrides said.

Asked to indicate whether the government would be in a tight spot when it is called upon to purchase coronavirus vaccines to cover the whole population, Petrides said that the administration had factored vaccination needs when drawing up its budget and support schemes.

The Finance Minister referred to data published by the World Health Organization (WHO), according to with which “Cyprus is one of the countries that recorded the highest expenditures per capita on health issues due to COVID-19”.

“Undoubtedly, the government will continue to provide all possible support to the health system in order to combat COVID-19, including purchasing vaccines.”

Earlier this month, the government announced it would provide another €30 mln a month to further support workers and businesses affected by the pandemic and measures introduced to tackle it, as Limassol and Paphos were put on lockdown due to a surge in cases.

Petrides has argued that the economy can still afford to support people and businesses as the government has yet to exhaust its resources due to the way it handled the crisis so far.

The government argues it has provided support measures costing more than €1.3 bln to keep 190,000 workers employed and thousands of businesses afloat.

The 2021 budget has increased by €609 mln or 8.7% on last year as the government enhances social safety nets, including emergency measures to support vulnerable groups, employees, and companies.