WUHAN, Feb. 14, 2020 (Xinhua) -- Mobile photo taken on Feb. 14, 2020 shows Gao Yongzhe and Huang Wenli adjusting goggles and masks for each other at "Wuhan Livingroom" in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province. Doctor Gao Yongzhe and nurse Huang Wenli. Image Source: IANS News

Rome, Feb 26 : The government is making available a total 650 million euros to help Italian companies weather the coronavirus emergency, Foreign Minister 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 will be set aside for Sace-Simest, Di Maio added, referring to a company that belongs to state lender Cassa depositi e prestiti and which is 76 per cent controlled by Italy's export 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 is the country with the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases outside China - 374 with 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 into another recession - its fourth since 2008.

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