Italy to ease lockdown as global cases pass 2.5m, Australian COVID-19 death toll stands at 72
The restrictions have put a major strain on the euro zone’s third-largest economy but with the number of new cases gradually slowing, Conte said he would unveil by the weekend government plans to loosen the shutdown.
“I wish I could say: let’s reopen everything. Immediately. We start tomorrow morning…But such a decision would be irresponsible,” Conte wrote in a Facebook post.
He promised “a serious, scientific plan” that would include a “rethinking of modes of transport” to enable workers to travel in safety, new business rules and measures to check whether the loosening was leading to an uptick in infections.
“It is reasonable to expect that we will apply it from May 4,” he said, adding that a rushed, disorganised exit strategy would make a mockery of the sacrifices Italians had accepted.
Italian business leaders have been clamouring for a relaxation of restrictions, which are among the toughest in the world, warning of an economic catastrophe if the lockdown drags on.
Italy’s Treasury expects the economy to contract by around 8.0 per cent this year, which would be the country’s worst recession since World War Two, two sources close to the matter told Reuters on Monday.