Apr 07, 2020 19:20 UTC
  •  Iran plans cash handouts to 23 million households amid virus surge

The Iranian government plans a one-off cash handout of 10 million rials (nearly $240 at official currency rate) to more than 23 million households in the country as part of efforts to help people cope with the economic impacts of the new coronavirus pandemic.

President Hassan Rouhani said in a recent Cabinet meeting that the cash handout scheme would cost the government around 250 trillion rials.

That would amount to around $6 billion based on the government-set currency rate or nearly $1.6 billion considering the unofficial price of the rial against the US dollar.

Rouhani said the fund dedicated to the scheme will be reimbursed in two years through the return of the monthly benefits paid to more than 60 million Iranians.

The handouts are among several rescue packages announced by the Iranian government to help ease the impact of the spreading coronavirus.

Iran has reported more than 62,000 cases of infection for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, since the outbreak started in the country on February 19. More than 27,000 patients have recovered while nearly 3,900 have died, according to figures provided by the Iranian health ministry on Tuesday.

The government announced in early days of the outbreak that more than three million low-income families will receive benefits of 4-12 million rials in two separate installments.

It also said that very cheap loans worth 10 to 20 million rials will be paid to four million other households to help them cope with unemployment and other economic problems caused by the pandemic.