Plan to reopen Italy after strict lockdown
Italy is set to ease a number of coronavirus-related restrictions from May 4, permitting more outdoor sports and exercise, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte says.
Conte made the announcement in Rome while presenting the government's plan for the gradual reopening of the country after weeks of strict lockdown measures to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The government is also planning to gradually ease restrictions on businesses, Conte said on Sunday.
One the hardest-hit countries in Europe, Italy has been under lockdown for longer than any other Western nation, and has counted more than 26,000 deaths and nearly 200,000 infections.
Citizens have been living with particularly strict curfews since March 10.
Conte said citizens will be allowed to move around in their own areas under certain rules starting in May, however travelling to other regions will remain largely prohibited for the time being.
Conte warned citizens that the fight against the outbreak was far from over.
"We will still be put to a hard test in the coming months," he said.
Schools will not reopen until September, Conte said earlier in an interview published on Sunday.
Conte told La Repubblica that certain "strategically" important economic activities could resume soon, possibly within the next week, including in the production and manufacturing sectors.
Priority should be given to export-driven businesses that are in danger of falling out of global supply chains, he said, as well as the building sector.
However, the health and safety of employees was the top priority. New workplace rules are expected, to curb further outbreaks.
"We cannot extend the lockdown further. Otherwise we risk too much social and economic damage," Conte said.
However, he warned Italians not to expect their "full freedom" to return too quickly.
Bars and restaurants would not immediately reopen on May 4, the premier noted, while adding that work was under way to enable not just home deliveries but take-away services too.
Originally published as Plan to reopen Italy after strict lockdown