Italians in Coronavirus Lockdown: ‘Everything Is Going to Be Alright’

Date: 2020-03-18 11:26:09

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Over a week into Italy’s lockdown, shops and businesses remain closed.
How is the country coping with the economic repercussions of the Covid-19 outbreak? Our Milan Bureau Chief, Tommaso Ebhardt, reports.

Italy Under Lockdown:

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte may extend a national lockdown beyond April 3, as coronavirus cases continue to climb in Europe’s worst outbreak, newspaper La Stampa reported.

Conte is likely to maintain measures including travel restrictions and the closure of schools as well as of virtually all retailers other than grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations, according to the newspaper. Factories can operate and public transportation, banks and the postal service are continuing, but restaurants, cafes and bars are shut. Conte’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Italy has the world’s second-highest number of diagnosed cases, with more than 30,000 known infections and more than 2,500 deaths. The government has approved a 25 billion-euro package ($27.5 billion) to support its strained health system while helping businesses and families counter the economic impact of the lockdown.
In a video conference with fellow European Union leaders Tuesday, Conte called for joint EU debt issuance to help offset the impact of the virus, a proposal that could transform the finances of the 27-nation bloc. Conte reiterated that EU governments must do “whatever it takes” to deal with the crisis, adding that no country can hope to shield itself from its impact. Delaying a joint response would be lethal and irresponsible, he added.
If the infection trend doesn’t tail off by Sunday, stricter measures may be needed, Lombardy region health official Giulio Gallera told TGCOM24.
Italian bonds extended losses Wednesday with the 10-year yield jumping as much as 60 basis points to 2.95%, the highest since February 2019; the spread over German bunds rose by 39 points to 318 basis points, the widest since 2018.

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