Italy Has Most New Virus Cases in Four Days as Recoveries Rise

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(Bloomberg) --

Italy registered its highest number of new coronavirus cases in four days on Wednesday as Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte prepares a stimulus package for an economy paralyzed by a nationwide lockdown.

The country also posted a record figure for recoveries from the disease, with 2,943 over the past 24 hours.

Figures from civil protection authorities show there were 3,370 new cases for the 24-hour period, compared with 2,729 a day earlier. Confirmed cases now total 187,327.

Conte’s government, which plans to gradually ease containment measures from May 4, is set to ask parliament for authorization to broaden the budget deficit by about 55 billion euros ($60 billion) to finance new stimulus for the economy, according to officials who asked not to be named in line with policy.

The government expects the budget deficit to rise to more than 10% of economic output this year, and gross domestic product to contract by about 8%, the officials said. Conte pledged to senators Tuesday that he would deliver a new economic stimulus package worth at least 50 billion euros, following an initial 25-billion euro package approved by his government last month.

The current containment measures, in force across Italy since mid-March, shutter all non-essential businesses, ban movement within the country, and all but confine people to their homes except for buying food, going to work and seeking medical help.

Italy, the original European epicenter of the outbreak, registered 437 deaths linked to the virus on Wednesday, compared with 534 the day before. That brings the total number of fatalities to 25,085.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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