More than 9,000 people have been infected by Covid-19 in Italy, where the total number of reported deaths jumped to 463 on Monday – an increase of over 25 per cent compared to the day before.
When asked about the possibility of halting mortgage payments on Radio Anch’io, Laura Castelli, the deputy economy minister, said: ”Yes, that will be the case, for individuals and households.”
The entire country was placed on lockdown on Tuesday morning, with all public gatherings cancelled, and universities and schools closed until next month.
Giuseppe Conte, the prime minister, said that everyone in Italy would be confined to the area where they live unless they are able to demonstrate a need to work, health conditions, or other limited reasons in order to travel elsewhere.
The lockdown already in place for northern parts of the country, encompassing about 16 million people, has now been extended to the whole nation.
The restrictions are set to last until 3 April and those who break the rules risk up to three months in jail or fines of €206 (£180).
Bars, restaurants and cafes across Italy are also to close at dusk as the government works to limit the spread of Covid-19.
Chaos broke out at prisons nationwide on Monday as inmates protested anti-coronavirus measures, which included restrictions on normal family visits.