“I know that everyone looks forward to return to normality, but unfortunately the conditions are not yet right – let’s be loud and clear about this.” Giuseppe Conte, Italy’s Prime Minister said this while speaking to journalists in Milan yesterday evening. Conte toured key cities in Lombardy, among them Milan, Bergamo and Brescia, the three cities which have suffered the most in the country.
Quizzed about the re-opening of Churches for Mass, a delicate issue for millions of devoted Italians, Conte said that government was working with the ecclesiastical authorities to identify the best solution for such needs, while respecting maximum security.
Conte had a strong message to the struggling people of Lombardy, almost apologising for not visiting earlier: “I haven’t come to visit you in the most critical phase as I did not want to create issues during such an emergency”. But he promised: “I will be back, soon.”
The PM was met by the Region President Attilio Fontana, Milan’s Mayor Giuseppe Sala and business representatives. Discussions focused on the possibility to re-open a number of economic sectors, with Fontana pushing for an accelerated procedure so as to avoid an even more severe economic and social downturn.
Conte explained his Government’s approach towards the second phase of its fight against the pandemic. “The second phase is not the defeat of the virus. It’s learning to live with it”. The minor easing of restrictions taken so far have “been studied to reduce the suffering, even psychological, of all us, but we should not throw away all the sacrifices we have made so far. We have to continue being responsible”.
He also promised a number of initiatives to support children and families, including benefits for parents who were forced to take leave to take care of their children and support measures for those who have to engage babysitters.
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