Italy to ease lockdown measures

Italy to ease lockdown measures
Italy imposed strict restrictions seven weeks ago to curb the spread of the coronavirus. EPA
3 Min Read

Daily US Times: Italy, the worst-hit country in Europe due to coronavirus pandemic, has outlined plans to ease the strict lockdown and restrictions it imposed seven weeks ago to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The measures would be relaxed from 4 May, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said, with people being allowed to visit their relatives in small numbers.

Building sites, factories, and parks will reopen, but schools will not restart classes until September.

The move to ease lockdown measures comes as the country recorded its lowest daily death toll in weeks.

On Sunday, Italy has reported 260 new virus-related deaths, the lowest daily figure since 14 March.

The country’s death toll has reached now at 26,644, Europe’s highest official toll.

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, Italy has confirmed 197,675 cases of the virus.

other European countries like Denmark, Spain, and Switzerland are also relaxing their measures.

Italian authorities now believe the contagion rate – the amount of people each person with the virus infects – is low enough to justify a cautious easing of curbs, as the number of cases has been falling.

What has been announced?

Mr Conte announced the measures in a television address. He said that the country would begin “Phase Two” of lifting its coronavirus lockdown.

The measures include people will be allowed to move around their own regions – but not between different regions. Funerals are set to resume, but with a maximum of 15 people attending, and ideally to be carried out outdoors. People can do sports not only in the vicinity of their homes but in wider areas and individual athletes can resume training.

Restaurants and bars will reopen for takeaway service from 4 May -not just delivery as now – but food must be consumed in an office or at home. Beauty salons and hairdressers are expected to reopen for dine-in service from 1 June.

From 18 May, sports teams will also be able to hold group training.

Prime Minister Conte said nothing about on the possibility of Italy’s premier football league Serie A resuming, even behind closed doors.

He stressed that social distancing measures would need to continue for months to come, and said church services would remain banned. Mr Conte urged people to stay a metre (3ft) away from each other.

The prime minister said: “If we do not respect the precautions the curve will go up, the deaths will increase, and we will have irreversible damage to our economy.”

”If you love Italy, keep your distance,” he added.

You may read: Coronavirus outbreak exposes divided France