As the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus (Covid-19) continues to rise, global citizens are being forced to self-quarantine to “flatten the curve.” While the preventative action will ultimately help to reduce the death toll, a concerning number of people don’t know where their next paycheck will come from – or, if it will come at all. This is why in Italy, the worst-hit nation second to China, mortgage payments are being suspended.
Laura Castelli, Italy’s deputy economy minister, suspended payments to help soften the economic blow caused by the coronavirus pandemic. She told Radio Anch’io: “Yes, that will be the case, for individuals and households.”
Early March, Italy’s banking lobby group ABI confirmed that lenders would offer “debt holidays” to small firms and families. As BBC News reports, this isn’t the first time the European nation has suspended debt payments for citizens. During the financial crisis, small businesses and families were given time off.
So far, nearly 30,000 people in Italy have been diagnosed with coronavirus. Over 2,000 people have died, primarily the elderly. To prevent the pandemic from worsening, the country has been in lockdown. Citizens who leave are slapped with a fine of 206 Euros or a 3-month prison sentence. Additional measures include travel restrictions and a ban on public gatherings.
According to experts, the global economy will take years to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. In Italy, specifically, the economy was just beginning to recover following a financial crisis that occurred one decade ago. Last year, the total production of goods and services was approximately the same as it had been 15 years earlier. However, it was still 4% below the level it reached in 2007 – before the financial crisis.
The measure to suspend mortgage payments will undoubtedly benefit many citizens. Hopefully, other nations will follow suit to support the most vulnerable of citizens who are affected by the shutdown.
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