Covid-19: Italy to start reopening business on May 4

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Italy will start reopening its manufacturing industry on May 4 as part of plans to ease its coronavirus lockdown, and schools will reopen in September, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said in an Italian newspaper interview.

The measures he said also include initial steps to let people leave their homes.

Italians will be allowed to visit relatives from early May, as long as they wear protective masks and respect social distancing. Shops and museums will restart on May 18. The government aims to reopen bars, restaurants and barbers on June 1, Conte said.

“We are working in these hours to allow the reopening of a good part of businesses from manufacturing to construction for May 4,” Conte said.

On Sunday, Italy reported 260 deaths linked to the virus for the 24-hour period — the fewest since mid-March, the early days of the lockdown. That brings the total number of fatalities to 26,644. Confirmed cases now total 197,675, with a leveling off over recent weeks.

Conte told Italian daily La Repubblica that the companies would have to introduce strict health and safety measures before being allowed to open their gates. But he said some businesses considered “strategic”, including activity that was mainly export-oriented, could reopen next week providing they got the go ahead from local prefects.

PM said schools would reopen in September but added studies showed the risk of contagion was very high.

Conte warned that if Italians fail to respect rules including social distancing, the curve of contagion “will rise and could become out of control, the number of our dead will increase and our economy will suffer irreversible damage.”

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