COVID-19 update: Italy to suspend mortgage payments; South Korea offers free tests

Italy, which has the second-highest number of confirmed cases of coronavirus, is trying to help its people by providing cure to patients and suspending mortgage payments

The total number of people affected by coronavirus globally has gone up to 114,526 with 4,028 deaths reported so far, on March 10. With countries across the world facing difficulties, some nations have already warned of recession. Italy, where the number of deaths due to coronavirus is increasing rapidly, has announced that it will suspend mortgage payments until the situation is controlled.

Italy has surpassed South Korea and is currently the country with the second-highest number of cases of coronavirus after China. Italy has recorded 9,172 confirmed cases and 463 deaths as of March 10. As business is completely hit and people are struggling to make ends meet, Deputy Finance Minister Antonio Misiani announced that the government will suspend mortgage payments along with other household bills across the country following the coronavirus outbreak.

Government working to suspend mortgage and other bills temporarily


The government is said to be already working on the procedure to suspend payment of mortgage and other bills temporarily. This will benefit small companies and individuals as there will be a halt to payment of taxes and interest payments. However, the suspension will be effective only until the situation comes under control.

According to the Financial Times, Italy's banking association has also announced that it would offer debt moratoriums to small companies and households. The government also will approve measures worth €10bn to deal with the impact of coronavirus, especially focusing on the economy and healthcare. The government is also likely to seek review of the EU's Stability Pact and Fiscal Compact rules.

South Korea offers free testing

South Korea is in the third place with over 7,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 54 deaths. It looks like the country is effectively trying to contain the virus. When compared to Italy that has recorded 463 deaths and Iran with 237 deaths, South Korea has been successful in checking the death rate. In an interview with CNN, South Korea's Health Minister Park Neunghoo hoped that the country has passed the peak situation in terms of coronavirus.

Reports claim that South Korea has been providing free tests for those with coronavirus symptoms. According to CNN, 196,000 tests have been conducted in the country so far. South Korea has the capacity to conduct at least 15,000 tests per day. The government has provided people with the option of free tests and also set up drive-thru testing booths.

Meanwhile, the head of the Munich-based Ifo Institute said if the situation continues, Germany might face recession.

Related topics : Coronavirus