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PARIS — Keeping your salary while caring for a quarantined child. Exercising the right to not work if you are afraid of getting ill. Sick-leave pay for up to six months.

Europe is sometimes considered a home of overly generous social policies. But as countries around the world scramble to control the deadly coronavirus outbreak, some analysts say those social programs and protective labor rules could serve as a powerful vaccine against the virus’s feared economic toll: recession.

Europe’s universal health care systems, for example, help bolster the economy by supporting consumer spending in the midst of a serious outbreak, because people aren’t worried about getting a big bill if they get sick.

“I would be more concerned in the U.S. what the cost would be,” said Ángel Talavera, an economist at Oxford Economics in London. “For Europeans, that is not a consideration we have in mind.”

Political leaders and central bankers have been full of assurances in recent days that they will do what it takes to blunt the impact and avoid a recession. An emergency cut in interest rates on Tuesday by the Federal Reserve sought to contain the fallout, but when or how much it would help was unclear.

But more than rate cuts or bursts of spending, economists say, the best short-term measures to prevent an economic downturn may be “automatic stabilizers” — existing programs or regulations that protect workers, provide low-cost health care or help companies get through a lean period. Some of these measures were adopted during another time of financial stress: the 2008 financial crisis.

Assurances that many workers won’t have to choose between caring for their health and paying their rent is a crucial psychological factor as Italy and France shut hundreds of schools, Britain unlocks an “action plan” to prevent the virus’s spread and businesses across the Continent cancel trips and meetings to limit their employees’ exposure to the epidemic.

Certainly, the benefits vary from country to country. And while Uber drivers, entrepreneurs and the self-employed in many European countries have access to health care at lower costs than in the United States, they still don’t get the same level of wage protection as salaried employees.

Italy announced Thursday that it would unleash a 7.5 billion euro (about $8.5 billion) support package to help businesses and families hit by the coronavirus, on top of €900 million in support announced last week.

The concerns highlight the uneven nature of such guarantees.

In Italy’s quarantined red zone of Veneto, Taylan Arslan, 33, was forced to postpone the opening of a kebab-making plant after the government imposed a ban on all nonessential economic activity, leaving his 57 employees unable to go to work. Under the government’s emergency support plan, Mr. Arslan will be able to get access to unemployment benefits for his workers more easily and quickly.

Mr. Arslan would also get €500 in support. But the money would not be nearly enough to recoup the lost earnings for his business, even with the proffered tax breaks, he said. He estimated that he had lost €12,000, or about $13,500, per day.

The government “can keep their €500 a month,” he said, worrying about the tons of meat spoiling in his freezers. “I need to work.”

But Italy can go only so far. Government debt far exceeds annual output of the economy, and Rome cannot afford to lose the confidence of bond investors.

“In the short term, the government can help,” said Carl Weinberg, chief economist at High Frequency Economics in White Plains, N.Y. “But the government can’t support people forever. At the end of the day, somebody has to pay for this.”

Jack Ewing contributed reporting from Berlin, Emma Bubola from Rome, and Geneva Abdul from London.

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