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A woman wearing a face mask walks past Fontana di Trevi in Rome, Italy last month.
A woman wearing a face mask walks past Fontana di Trevi in Rome, Italy last month.
Image: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Italy reports lowest daily death toll since lockdown began two months ago

The country is due to exit its full lockdown tomorrow.
May 3rd 2020, 6:05 PM 34,024 20

ITALY REPORTED 174 new coronavirus deaths on Sunday, its lowest toll since 168 fatalities were registered when the country’s stay-at-home orders were imposed on 10 March. 

The latest death toll was announced on the eve of its first easing of lockdown measures on Monday officially stands at 28,884, second only to the United States.

Today is its last day in full lockdown, but the partial easing of strict coronavirus measures after a two-month shutdown has been causing some anxiety and confusion.

Across the country, attempts to make plans for the first day of freedom were hampered by uncertainty over the rules. The government has a list of permitted activities, but regions are also making up their own regulations.

“I’m hoping this morning’s paper will clear it up. I want to take my old mum to the seaside, can I?” asked 53-year old cleaner Pietro Garlanti as he queued patiently in the sun at a kiosk in Rome. 

In this first stage, Italy’s 60 million inhabitants will be able to move more freely within their own regions, visiting relatives, going to re-opened parks with their children and cycling or running further from home.

None of that can be done in groups, however, so big family lunches are forbidden. Going to holiday homes is not allowed. People cannot leave their own regions, except for emergencies or for health reasons.

Italy’s 20 regions, however, have put their own spin on the rules. Two of them, Veneto and Calabria, even lifted their lockdowns early, opening to bars and restaurants with outdoor tables this week.

Liguria is thinking about letting people go sailing in small groups, and is reopening its beaches. So is the Marghe region, but for walks not sunbathing. Emilia-Romagna is keeping them closed, even to those who live by the sea.

“We’ve been waiting with longing for May 4, but now it’s finally arrived it’s a letdown. Until they tell me I’m really free, I’ll feel paranoid, like I’m breaking the rules in some way,” 37-year old Michele Magna told AFP.

‘Extremely worried’  

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte further puzzled many by telling Italians visits with “congiunti” were allowed.

The Italian word can mean either relatives or kinsmen. He then attempted to clarify by saying that extended to people who had “relationships of steady affection”. 

The government was forced Saturday to publish a Q&A that specified people could see extended relatives – including, for example, the children of their cousins – but friends were out of bounds.

Teacher Alessandra Coletti thought the confusion would be used “as an excuse by many for a sort of free-for-all”.

The government hopes easing the coronavirus lockdown, the longest in the world, will reboot a crippled economy.

Prime minister Conte has warned he will be watching closely to see if the virus flares up again, and is ready to enforce localised lockdowns if necessary to stop the return of a pandemic which has claimed nearly 29,000 lives.

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AFP

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