Italian premier Giuseppe Conte informs the Senate on coronavirus situation, in Rome, March 26, 2020.
Italian premier Giuseppe Conte informs the Senate on coronavirus situation, in Rome, March 26, 2020.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has announced a $434 billion package of additional economic aid for Italian companies of all sizes struggling in the wake of the coronavirus crisis that has hit Italy especially hard.

At a news conference with his cabinet in Rome Tuesday, Conte said the funds will be split between aiding the domestic economy and boosting the export market. He said the package will be administered as loans, through banks.

Italian businesses are facing a major crisis due to the shutdown of all non-essential factories and enterprises to limit the spread of the virus.

Education Minister Lucia Azzolina, meanwhile, told reporters the government was allocating $76 million to buy tablets and computers for low-income students who cannot afford them. He said the right to education must be constitutionally guaranteed.

Conte declined to say when the nationwide lockdown would be lifted.

Italy has the world’s highest COVID-19 death toll - over 16,500.