Italy’s Lockdown Opening Up – Spreads Worry & Confusion

ROME, May 3 (Reuters) – Tired of the longest blockade of the coronavirus in Europe, Italians have marked on Monday for a month since Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte first suggested that life could return to normal.

Now, this enthusiasm is dampened by the fact that, in the end, many of the restrictions of the past eight weeks will remain, while there is confusion over which one gets up.

With nearly 29,000 deaths from COVID-19 since its appearance on February 21, Italy has the second-highest number of deaths in the world after the United States.

Additionally, the daily number of deaths and new infections has slowed more slowly than the government expected, prompting Conte to take a slow-to-slow approach to end the ban, which is constantly adjusting to reflected trends in contagion.

“We are still in the midst of a crisis,” he said Sunday in an interview with La Stampa, stressing that the so-called “phase 2” ban should not be taken as a sign that we are all free and things can go back to normal.

People can leave their homes more freely and more jobs can be reopened if they respect the rules of social distance. However, most stores are closed until May 18, and restaurants and bars only offer takeout.

Schools, cinemas, theaters, museums, and hairdressers remain closed to reopen on staggered dates.

The parks will reopen on Monday and Italians will be able to run and do other outdoor activities two meters away. Masks are mandatory in all locked rooms and must be purchased from pharmacies at a subsidized price of EUR 0.5 each.

Relaxation of the lockdown has been hampered by a lack of clarity about the activities allowed since Monday and even about the houses that people can visit.

CONFUSION

The confusion was only exacerbated by policies the government adopted over the weekend that quickly became a source of widespread criticism and ridicule on social media.

They claimed that visits by distant relatives, including children of cousins ​​or cousins ​​of the spouses, as well as visits to people with whom one had a “stable romantic relationship”, were allowed.

However, they did not say whether friendship is a stable link until a confidential message from the Prime Minister’s Office to the media indicates that visits to friends are not yet allowed.

A sense of confusion is also due to the decentralized power structure in Italy, in which some regional authorities, led by the center-right opposition, have threatened to break the rules and leave them alone to reopen their activities.

Conte said “Phase 2” would include additional tests to determine who had the virus. 5 million kits will be shipped to the regions over the next two months. Additionally, around 150,000 blood tests will be performed this week to get an idea of ​​the number of Italians who have developed antibodies.

He also presented the content of a €55 billion stimulus package to be adopted in the coming days, which includes more money for temporarily displaced workers, special payments for stranded temporary and domestic workers, and family vouchers to care for children. (1$ = 0.9105 Euros)

A version of this article first appeared on Yahoo News.

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