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NEWS Italy to ease lockdown weeks after highest COVID-19 daily death toll

Italy is in the process of easing the lockdown precipitated by the deadly coronavirus.

It was one of the world’s most stiff lockdowns.

In March, Italy surpassed China as the country with the most number of coronavirus-related deaths.

Italy also recorded highest daily number of cases and daily casualty toll, earning it “the epicenter” of coronavirus.

It was around then that the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 as global pandemic

On Saturday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced a further loosening of movement restrictions.

These include opening borders to travellers from Europe from June, Reuters reports.

Bars and restaurants are due to reopen from Monday.

The government says people will no longer have to justify travel within their own region and will be able to meet friends as well as family.

“People will be able to go wherever they want – to a shop, to the mountains, to a lake or the seaside,’’ Conte said.

The ban on travel between regions and abroad will remain in place until after Italy’s June 2 Republic Day holiday.

All travel curbs will be lifted from June 3 and travellers from European Union (EU) countries will be able to enter without going into quarantine.

Conte called the decision a “calculated risk. We’re facing this risk and we have to accept it because otherwise, we will never get started again’’.

Large public gatherings remain banned but church, other religious services, museums and galleries will be allowed to open.

Gyms, swimming pools and sports centres will reopen on May 25 while theatres and cinemas can reopen from June 15.

However, people are still expected to wear masks inside or on crowded streets.

The Prime Minister’s announcement came as Italy’s coronavirus deaths – currently the third-highest in the world – fell to 153, the lowest since March 9.

The country has recorded over 224,000 cases and nearly 32,000 deaths.

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