Italian PM asked to further ease lockdown measures in the South

Italian PM asked to further ease lockdown measures in the South
Credit: Belga

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is under pressure to ease lockdown measures more quickly in the country's southern regions, which are less affected by the new coronavirus (Covid-19) than the North.

"Let's give some flexibility to mayors and governors, especially in the least affected areas," said Graziano Delrio, Democratic Party leader in the Chamber of Deputies, in an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica on Tuesday.

Delrio's statement follows Conte's announcement on Sunday that Italy would start phasing out of its lockdown as of 4 May, without any differentiation between the northern and southern regions.

Of the 2,091 new infections recorded in Italy on Tuesday, more than 80% were concentrated in northern regions Lombardy, Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto and Liguria. Southern regions such as Sardinia, Calabria, Basilicata and Molise each recorded fewer than 10 new cases.

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Health Minister Roberto Speranza told Corriere della Sera that he supported the decision to take "a first uniform step" for the country as whole, adding that "elements of regional flexibility" could follow later.

Italy is one of the countries in the world most affected by coronavirus, with over 200,000 cases and more than 27,000 deaths as of 28 April, according to Italy's Civil Protection Department.

According to polling institute IXE, 60% of Italians approve of the way the government has handled the epidemic, but only 41% believe the economic support measures put in place are effective, compared with 52% three weeks earlier.

Italy is one of several countries easing their way out of a lockdown. Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès announced on Friday that Belgium, too, would start phasing out of lockdown as of 4 May. Belgium currently counts 47,859 cases of coronavirus, and a total of 7,501 Belgians have died of coronavirus as of Wednesday.

Jason Spinks

The Brussels Times

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