Taiwan is heavily export-reliant, so the virus has affected it in a significant way. The money will help small businesses and tour agencies, as well as provide tax cuts for tour bus drivers. It will also provide vouchers for food in Taiwan’s night markets, which attract a large number of tourists.
Taiwan slashed its economic growth estimate due to the virus, affecting an important part of the electronics supply chain globally.
“Although there are waves after waves of challenges, as long as everyone is united, Taiwan will definitely pass this test,” President Tsai Ing-wen said about the package.
The bill was proposed a week ago and passed with bipartisan support, a rarity for the country’s government.
“Our common enemy is the virus,” said Hung Mong-kai, a lawmaker from Taiwan’s main opposition Kuomintang party. “The 23 million people in Taiwan will definitely not be defeated. God bless Taiwan.”
Taiwan’s largest trading partner is China where consumers are spending lots of money on online shopping as malls and stores have remained closed this week.
They’re buying makeup, condoms, exercise equipment and Nintendo Switch games.
Nintendo has a game called Ring Fit Adventure which combines exercise and role playing, and it’s been selling steadily, with sales quadrupling in the two weeks leading up to Feb. 20.
“No medicine really functions against the virus so far,” said Guo Yan, a 38-year-old office employee who recently purchased Ring Fit Adventure. “All you can count on is your own health. I want to exercise at home to be healthy and fit.”
Yoga mat and rowing machine sales are up 250 percent from a year earlier as well, and book sales popped 60 percent starting on Feb. 10, when compared to the week before.