Italy’s situation critical, but life goes on with rules – Conte

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Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte told a press conference after talks with Spanish Premier Pedro Sanchez in Rome Tuesday that “our countries are going through a moment of particular difficulty, critical situations: we want to show that by respecting the rules and precautions laid down, life, also political life, can continue”. He said “we go on with our commitments but we first of all respect the rules”.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez participate in a joint press conference after their meeting at Chigi Palace, Rome, Italy, 20 October 2020. EPA-EFE/GIUSEPPE LAMI

The Italian premier said the government’s COVID strategy, in the face of a spike, was for localised restrictive measures. He said governors and mayors could introduce measures “when the situation becomes particularly concerning”. He stressed, however, that local measures should be implemented while maintaining national coordination.

“we cannot re-propose the same strategy” of national lockdowns” – Conte

Conte said he and Sanchez agreed that the situation was completely different from the first wave, and “we cannot re-propose the same strategy” of national lockdowns. “We are no longer unprepared and we have a sophisticated monitoring system,” he said.

Conte went on to say that the EU Recovery Fund should start releasing its 750 billion euros on January1, stressing that “we cannot wait any longer”. He said that only EU responses could help restart the economy, not nationalist recipes. Conte said he had told European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that the EU should make a Brexit deal with the UK, but not at all costs. 

New COVID cases in Italy went back up in the last 24 hours on Tuesday, to 10,874 from 9,338 on Monday. Some 144,000 swabs were taken. There were 89 new deaths, up from 73 Monday, the health ministry said. Italy is seeing a spike in cases in several regions, led by Lombardy and Campania, where curfews have been ordered. Premier Giuseppe Conte said Tuesday that local measures must still be coordinated nationally. 

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