Italy: Families in hardship pushed over the brink by Covid-19

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Italian families are bearing the brunt of the country’s Covid-19 outbreak with one in seven parents already in financial hardship losing their jobs as a result of the crisis.

A report by the international NGO Save The Children detailed how Italian families in a precarious economic position have, in many cases, been pushed over the edge by the global coronavirus pandemic.

As a result, children are missing out on their education and having to go without food.

According to the survey conducted by the children’s NGO one in seven parents from families in economic hardship have permanently lost their jobs because of the coronavirus outbreak.

A child, part of a small group aged between 6 to 10 years-old, gets his temperature taken before returning to school as part of a pilot test to see how social distancing can work in schools throughout the region of Piedmont, proposed by the mayor of Borgosesia Paolo Tiramani, during the coronavirus disease Reuters

More than half of the parents surveyed have temporarily lost their jobs or faced a reduction in wages because of the crisis.

Italy has been one of the hardest hit nations in Europe by the coronavirus emergency with 220,000 confirmed cases and 30,739 deaths.

Though it has now been overtaken by countries like the United States and Britain, coronavirus initially hit Italy faster than in other Western nations. As such, its experience has been seen as a forerunner of things to come in more economically developed nations.

Italians beat the curve of the outbreak in April after a nationwide lockdown was imposed in March. However, the economic fallout from the restrictions is only just being brought to bear on the country.

Almost half of all parents responding to Save The Children said they had been forced to reduce food costs and reign in the consumption of more expensive food items like meat or fish. This hardship was compounded, the children’s NGO said, as most families benefited from free school meals.

The closure of schools continued to have a significant impact on families and children’s education. One in five children, according to the survey, was struggling with homework while one in ten was following distance learning classes less than once per week.

One in twenty parents is worried their children will have to repeat a year or may drop out of school altogether because of the virus.

“The emergency linked to the spread of Covid-19 puts even more at risk the right to a decent life full of opportunities for the younger generation,” Save The Children said in a statement.

“We must act quickly and protect girls, boys and adolescents from such a risk, which not only leads to economic deprivation, but also to educational poverty, preventing talent and skills from flourishing.”

Updated: May 13, 2020 12:07 AM

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