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Italy to seek leeway to increase deficit to tackle coronavirus crisis

ROME, Feb 29 (Reuters) - The Italian government will seek authorisation next week from parliament to increase the budget deficit to help tackle the growing coronavirus crisis which is weighing heavily on the economy, the Treasury said on Saturday.

A Treasury statement said the government was looking to implement measures "in support of the real economy", but to do that it would need parliamentary backing to change its 2020 deficit goals. It did not give any further details.

Italy is suffering the worst outbreak of coronavirus in Europe. It has registered more than 900 cases and at least 21 deaths since Feb 21.

(Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte; Writing by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Andrew Heavens)