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Italy suspends mortgage payments during coronavirus shutdown

Italy has suspended all mortgage payments as it tries to offset the economic impact of the coronavirus.

With more than 9,000 reported cases of the virus and more than 400 related deaths, Italy isn't just the epicenter of the coronavirus in Europe, but also the country that has been hit the hardest by the illness outside of China, where the outbreak originated.

The suspension of mortgage and other debt payments is an additional measure that the country is adding to its emergency economic package. Moreover, the initial 7.5 billion euros ($8.5 billion USD) package has been bumped up to 10 billion euros ($11.38 billion), according to the Financial Times.

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The country is essentially on complete lockdown. Italy residents can travel to work and for essential activity, but they are now required to sign self-declared forms explaining their movements, the FT reports. All public gatherings, including funerals and weddings, have been canceled, and restaurants and bars must close at 6 p.m. every night.

Schools and universities have suspended classes until at least April 3.

“There will no longer be a ‘red zone’ — the whole of Italy will be a protected area," Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told the publication Monday.

"We have to avoid moving around other than for emergencies or essential work reasons within designated areas," he added.