Italy allocates more funds to pandemic-hit businesses

21 Nov 2020, 22:59

  DF News Desk

Shops in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II are closed according to the latest decree in Milan, Italy, Nov. 6, 2020. File Photo: Xinhua.

New funds were allocated in Italy to feed existing relief measures for economic activities, as the restrictions to slow down a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic continued to be implemented across most of the country, the cabinet said on Saturday, reported Xinhua.

Contained in a decree passed in the early hours of Saturday, the fresh funds amounted to 1.95 billion euros in 2020, according to a cabinet's statement.

Some 1.45 billion euros will be allocated as non-repayable financial aid to business activities affected by the restrictive anti-COVID measures imposed earlier this month.

Another 400 million euros would go to mayors in order to implement "urgent food aid measures" to struggling households in their cities.

The remaining 100 million euros were destined to Extraordinary Commissioner for the Coronavirus Emergency Domenico Arcuri -- who is in charge of the country's national procurement process in the pandemic -- for COVID-19 drug purchases.

The latest provision followed an earlier decree aimed at refunding the economic activities that were ordered to shut down during the second pandemic wave, which was worth 2.8 billion euros and entered into force on Nov. 9.

According to the latest statistics by the Health Ministry, Italy recorded 777,176 active coronavirus infections as of Friday, with an increase of 37,242 new cases against the previous day.

Overall, the country has assessed 1,308,528 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic officially broke out here in late February.

Along with the containment measures, authorities have recently confirmed a plan for a national vaccination campaign, starting with 1.7 million people by the second half of January.

Efforts to find a vaccine are underway in several countries across the world, including in Italy, France, Germany, China, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

According to the World Health Organization's latest available information updated to Nov. 12, there were currently 48 COVID-19 candidate vaccines in clinical trials and another 164 in pre-clinical trials.