Brazil to extend emergency financial aid

If Brazil witnesses a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government will once again extend emergency aid to the vulnerable, Economy Minister Paulo Guedes said.

At an online event on Thursday sponsored by the Brazilian Association of Supermarkets, Guedes made it clear that it was not the government’s plan to extend the emergency measure, since officials expect a gradual decline in infections and stepped up economic recovery, reports Xinhua news agency.

However, “if there is a second wave, it is not a possibility, it is a certainty” that the government will resume the emergency aid, he said.

“We will have to react, but it is not Plan A. It is not what we are thinking now,” he added.

According to Guedes, by the end of 2020, the government will have spent more than 600 billion reals ($110 billion), or 10 per cent of the GDP, to help poor or low-income households struggling with the pandemic’s impact on the economy.

The emergency aid payments began in May and were extended until December 31.

During the first three months, the aid was set at 600 reals a month, but was then reduced to 300 reals.

Brazil currently accounts for the third highest number of Covid-19 cases in the world and the second highest fatalities.

As of Friday, the country’s caseload and the death toll stood at 5,747,660 and 163,368.