Italy’s dis-unity in regional lockdown easing schedule deemed too risky

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Italy’s coronavirus infection rate will go back up to 1.3, from below 1 at present, if schools are reopened, expert Stefano Merler of Trento’s Bruno Kessler Institute told the Higher Health Institute (ISS) on Thursday.

Merler said this would happen even though children are 66% less susceptible to getting the virus.

He said it took an average 6.6 days for symptoms to manifest from the moment of infection, and added that the contagion rate would also go above the epidemiological threshold if restaurants are added to the construction, manufacturing and commerce sectors already slated to be reopened when the lockdown is eased on Monday. Italian schools are set to reopen in September.

Meanwhile, moves by centre-right-led regions in opening up activities ahead of the government’s lockdown easing schedule are “rash and illegitimate”, Premier Giuseppe Conte told the House on Thursday.

League-led northern regions like Lombardy and Veneto have said they will come out of lockdown quicker than the government programme that gradually eases confinement starting Monday, while the centre-right led Calabrian region has reopened bars and restaurants with seats outside.

“We can’t allow the efforts made to become vain due to imprudence shown in this delicate phase,” Conte said.

“Any erratic conduct, like moving from a policy of closing everything to reopening everything, would risk irreversibly compromising these efforts.” The premier said the government “cannot assure in an immediate way a return to normality.

“But if there are fewer infections, there will be more reopenings in May.” Conte announced 15 billion euros in aid for businesses in an upcoming decree and said the government would weigh “the possible reopening, on an experimental footing, of children’s nurseries and infants schools, as well as summer camps”.


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