US Senate passes additional $484bn COVID-19 relief package

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The United States Senate on Tuesday passed an additional coronavirus relief package worth $484 billion (N181 trillion) to address emerging public health and economic challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the Senate, this will replenish a depleted loan package for small businesses and provide funds for hospitals and coronavirus (COVID-19) testing and treatment.

The approval came after a series of negotiations between Democrats and the administration of President Donald Trump. This comes barely a month after the $2 trillion (N827 trillion) economic stimulus enacted by the government on March 27.

The $349 billion (N131 trillion) allocated to small businesses as loan in the first package fell sharply short of applications from distressed businesses. The additional fund comprises $381 billion (N143 trillion) as soft loan for small businesses, $75 billion (N28 trillion) for hospitals and $25 billion (N9 trillion) for national coronavirus testing.

It has been sent to the House of Representatives for final passage later this week before it goes to the White House for presidential assent.

The U.S. economy has been badly hit by the pandemic, which has killed no fewer than 43,000 Americans rendering about 22 million people jobless. Recall that Trump has announced that immigration to the US will be temporarily suspended to protect the jobs of Americans.

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