Italy’s government on Saturday approved a decree which will allow travel to and from abroad from June 3, in a major development as it moves to unwind one of the world’s most rigid coronavirus lockdowns.
The government will allow free travel across the country from that same day. Some regions had pushed for a swifter rollback, but Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has insisted on a gradual return to normal to prevent a second wave of infections.
More than 31,600 Italians have died of Covid-19 since the outbreak came to light on Feb 21, the third-highest death toll in the world after that of the United States and Britain.
In a bid to contain the contagion, Italy was the first European country to impose nationwide restrictions in March, only sanctioning an initial relaxation of the rules on May 4, when it allowed factories and parks to reopen.
Italy’s government has signed a decree that will allow travel to and from the country from 3 June, as it moves to ease its coronavirus lockdown measures.
It will also allow travel between the regions – which has so far been tightly restricted – from the same day.
The move marks a major step in the country’s efforts to reopen its economy after more than two months of lockdown.
Italy has one of the highest death tolls in the world, but its infection rate has fallen sharply in recent days.
More than 31,600 people have died with the virus in the country, the third highest figure behind the US and UK.
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It was the first country in Europe to impose nationwide restrictions when coronavirus cases began to surface in northern regions in February.
But it began to relax those measures earlier this month, when it allowed factories and parks to reopen on 4 May.
The latest decree was signed by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and published early on Saturday.
Some Italian regions had called for a swifter easing of restrictions, but Prime Minister Conte said they would be relaxed gradually to avoid a second wave of cases.
Shops and restaurants are also due to reopen from 18 May providing social distancing is enforced.
Catholic churches are preparing for the resumption of Mass on the same day, but there will be strict social distancing and worshippers must wear face masks. Other faiths will also be allowed to hold religious services.