Italy To Spend 25 Billion Euro In Fight Against Coronavirus

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Italy on Wednesday vowed to spend up to 25 billion euros ($28.3 billion) to fight a new coronavirus epidemic that has killed 631 people and put hospitals and the economy under severe strain.

Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri said “half of these resources” would be used immediately and the other half stowed away and tapped should the health crisis spiral out of control.

The new plan must still be approved by the leaders of European Union under the bloc’s strict budget deficit rules for its 27 member states.

Officials in Brussels had been ready to let Italy spend more than it was technically allowed when its request stood at 7.5 billion euros last week.

Part of the money is supposed to help restaurants and hotels now suffering the brunt of an implosion in the number of tourists who visit Italy’s art-filled churches and achingly beautiful hills.

“We are preparing rules to protect companies, workers and families,” Labour Minister Nunzia Catalfo said.

The government also put more meat on the bones of an emerging plan to let families temporarily suspend some mortgage and social tax payments.

Gualtieri said “partial state guarantees” were being discussed to help Italy’s creaking banks survive a resulting cash crunch.

 

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