Italy’s Prime Minister said on Tuesday that by the weekend he would detail the steps the country will take to gradually loosen restrictions, reopen the economy and emerge from the coronavirus crisis.
Italy, which has declared more coronavirus deaths than any other European country, has been under national quarantine since March 9, with some regions imposing lock-downs even earlier.
The quarantine period, which has been extended twice, is due to expire on May 3.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is caught between trying to avoid a fresh spike in infections of the virus – which has killed over 24,000 people in Italy – while avoiding additional damage to the economy.
“I would like to be able to say, let’s open everything. Right away,” Conte wrote on Facebook. “But such a decision would be irresponsible. It would make the contagion curve rise uncontrollably and would jeopardise all the efforts that we’ve made until now.”
He laid out the difficulties of the so-called ‘Phase 2’ in reopening the economy, saying a plan would be laid out “before the end of this week.
“A reasonable expectation is that we will apply it from May 4.
“We have to reopen on the basis of the policy that takes into consideration all the details and cuts across all the data. A serious policy, scientific,” Conte wrote.
In an example, he cited how, in allowing businesses to reopen, officials needed to consider how workers would get to and from work, in order to avoid congestion which could open the door to new contagion.