Italy, Spain begin easing coronavirus lockdown

Elias Hubbard
May 5, 2020

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has apologized to the country's citizens for delays in financial aid. "The risks of having more infections are numerous, but we will be able to avoid them with responsibility".

With factories and construction sites reopening, the government is enforcing new rules for traveling on public transportation by marking available seats on buses and subways.

Italy's statistics bureau said it could be assumed that a further 11,600 deaths were people who had died of COVID-19 without being tested, or of other causes that a stressed health service had been unable to treat them for.

Rome tour guide Paolo Lodi said he felt "reborn" after being allowed to go for a walk in the picturesque Villa Borghese Gardens. UK PM Boris Johnson said that "the race to discover the vaccine to defeat this virus is not a competition between countries, but the most urgent shared endeavour of our lifetimes".

Scott Gottlieb, a former US Food and Drug Administration commissioner said the United States was seeing a "mixed bag" of results from virus mitigation efforts.

The small changes will mean big lifestyle improvements for 60 million people who have rarely left their homes in almost two months. According to media reports, manufacturing and construction work in Italy is set to resume from today, May 4.

The government plans to relax the stay-at-home order and restrictions on business operations in phases over the next two months. But this prompted fears among business owners and employees that the country was moving out of the lockdown too early.

People wearing protective masks walk on a street as Italy begins a staged end to a nationwide lockdown due to the spread of the coronavirus disease, in Rome Italy
People wearing protective masks walk on a street in Rome as Italy begins a staged end to the nationwide lockdown

The health ministry reported 174 deaths in the 24 hours up until Sunday evening - the lowest daily total since the lockdown began on March 10.

The easing comes as the daily rate of new COVID-19 cases worldwide has been sitting in a 2%-3% range over the past week, down from a peak of around 13% in mid-March.

Despite the re-opening, private parties and family gatherings are still banned, and restaurants, bars, schools, and museums are still closed.

After seven weeks of strict lockdown measures, Italy took the first step towards returning to normal on Monday (May 4).

Spain, Nigeria, Malaysia and Lebanon are among the other countries also easing some restrictions on Monday.

An internal US government document projected a sharp rise in daily deaths by June 1, the New York Times reported on Monday, to 3,000 Americans a day by the end of May, up from a current daily toll that a Reuters tally places at around 2,000.

Matt Bradley, Bill O'Reilly, Lidia Sirna and Malou Visco Comandini reported from Rome; Yuliya Talmazan reported from London; Nancy Ing reported from Paris; and Hernan Muñoz Ratto reported from Madrid.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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