BRASILIA, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) — Should Brazil experience a second wave of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, the government will once again grant emergency aid to the vulnerable, Brazilian Economy Minister Paulo Guedes said on Thursday.
At an online event 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.
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 (about 110 billion U.S. dollars), or 10 percent of the gross domestic product (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 Dec. 31.
During the first three months, the aid was set at 600 reals a month, but was then reduced to 300 reals.
Brazil reported 5,748,375 cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday, and 163,373 deaths from the disease.