ROME: The government is making available 650 million euros to assist Italian companies to contain the coronavirus emergency, secretary of state Luigi Di Maio said on Wednesday.
"Italy's foreign trade institute (Ice) is making available 300 million euros for our companies and we will hold joint discussions on the best way to tackle this moment," Di Maio wrote on Facebook.
A further 350 million euros are going to be put aside for Sace-Simest, Di Maio added, pertaining to a corporation that belongs to state lender Cassa depositi e prestiti and which is 76 per cent controlled by Italy's credit agency Sace.
"We have the duty to act with uttermost seriousness, continuing to support our citizens and Italy's economy 24 hours a day," read Di Maio's post, which also warned against "fake news" that "causes economic damage too".
After South Korea, Italy has the highest number of coronavirus cases with at least 374 infected and 12 deaths.
Economists have warned the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak whose epicentre is in the wealthy, industrial north of the country may tip Italy back to another recession - its fourth since 2008.