Pedestrians wearing face masks in Italy, which has witnessed a cluster outbreak of the coronavirus.

MILAN — In an exceptional step, the country’s prime minister Giuseppe Conte announced on Thursday that Italy plans to channel 7.5 billion euros to support the economy, the sectors and the workers more exposed to the coronavirus crisis.

“These are extraordinary and urgent measures,” said Conte.  This is double the amount proposed last Sunday, when, as reported, the Minister of Economy Roberto Gualtieri proposed a decree for additional resources for a total of 3.6 billion euros.

This week, Standard & Poor’s forecast that the impact of COVID-19 would push Italy in a recession in 2020, expecting a 0.3 percent contraction in the country’s gross domestic product, compared with a 0.4 percent growth foreseen in December. For the entire Eurozone, the contraction is pegged at 0.5 percent with a growth that is expected to go from 1 to 0.5 percent.

Also on Thursday, Italy’s president Sergio Mattarella in a motivational video message said “Italy is going through a moment that is particularly challenging. It is facing it with the necessary transparency and providing full information.” United, continued Mattarella, Italy will overcome this crisis, “relying on the country’s skills and resources.”

As of Thursday, 3,296 people have been infected, 414 cured and 148 dead. The COVID-19 has spread to all of Italy’s regions, but Lombardy remains the most hit, with 1,777 infected.

A day earlier, the government had decided to extend the closure of schools in Italy until March 15.

Rules have been laid out to prevent the infection, which span from keeping a distance of about three feet from one another, and avoiding handshakes. Sports events are still to be held behind closed doors. Smart working is still strongly advised.

The COVID-19 outbreak continues to reshuffle the fashion calendar and on Thursday, as reported, both Giorgio Armani and Versace postponed events planned for April in Dubai and May in the U.S., respectively. 

 

 

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