Press "Enter" to skip to content

Italy to start easing coronavirus lockdown

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte says Italy will announce by the end of this week plans for the gradual reopening from a lockdown imposed to fight the coronavirus emergency.

The plans will be applied starting from May 4, he said on Tuesday.

The lockdown, closing most Italian businesses and preventing people leaving their homes for all but essential needs, has been in place since March 9, putting a major strain on the euro zone’s third largest economy.

“I wish I could say: let’s reopen everything. Immediately. We start tomorrow morning … But such a decision would be irresponsible. It would make the contagion curve go up in an uncontrolled way and would nullify all the efforts we have made so far,” Conte wrote in a Facebook post.

“We must act on the basis of a national (reopening) plan, which however takes into account the territorial peculiarities.”

After the government shuttered businesses not deemed essential to the supply chain on March 22, calls have recently been growing from industry lobbies to reopen some activities to prevent an economic catastrophe.

Italy’s Treasury expects the economy to contract by around 8 per cent this year underscoring the negative impact of the nationwide restrictions.

Conte said the easing of restrictions would happen on the basis of a thorough study and scientific data and not to “satisfy a part of public opinion or to satisfy the requests of some production categories, individual companies or specific regions”.

“The easing brings with it the real risk of a decided increase in the contagion curve and we must be prepared to contain this ascent to the minimum levels, so that the risk of contagion is ‘tolerable’,” he added.

The number of new COVID-19 cases dropped to 2,256 on Monday, the lowest level in well over a month, Italy’s Civil Protection Agency said.

The total death toll stood at 24,114, the second highest in the world after that of the United States.

Originally published as Italy to start easing coronavirus lockdown

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *