“It would be irresponsible to withdraw from the lockdown at this point in time, but by the end of the week, plans for a gradual re-opening will be made public.” Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced on Facebook this morning that the easing of restrictions remains scheduled for 4th May, having been put in place since mid-March.
The lockdown has created a heavy economic and financial strain on one of the most indebted countries in the eurozone, but Conte warned of the health pitfalls if popular decisions are taken too son.
In a Facebook post, he wrote: “I wish I could say: let’s reopen everything. Immediately. We start tomorrow morning … But such a decision would be irresponsible. It would make the contagion curve go up in an uncontrolled way and would nullify all the efforts we have made so far. We must act on the basis of a national (reopening) plan, which however takes into account the territorial peculiarities.”
Industry and business lobbies have been pressured hard to re-open some activities so as to prevent a complete economic collapse. As things stand, Government is expecting that the economy will contract by around 8% this year
Italy’s Treasury expects the economy to shrink by around 8% this year, but Conte insisted that decisions on the easing of restrictions will be based on recommendations by scientific experts and will not be made simply to “satisfy a part of public opinion or to satisfy the requests of some production categories, individual companies or specific regions”.
“The easing brings with it the real risk of a decided increase in the contagion curve and we must be prepared to contain this ascent to the minimum levels, so that the risk of contagion is ‘tolerable’,” Conte explained.
The Prime Minister also appealed to collective unity of the population, insisting that the easing of restrictions should not differentiate between North and South.
Italy has registered fewer cases for a number of days now, dropping to 2,256 on Monday, the lowest level for over four weeks according to data published by the Civil Protection. So far, over 24,000 lives have been lost to the virus.
Read more via Tgcom and Reuters