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Coronavirus: Italy extends state of emergency into October

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. Credit: Belga

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s request to extend the country’s state of emergency to October was approved by the Italian senate on Tuesday, Italian media report.

The government was initially pushing to extend the deadline until 31 October, while Italy’s Partito Democratico (social democrats) and Italia Viva (a liberal party led by former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi) wanted it to end earlier, on 30 September.

The compromise, 15 October, was approved by the upper house Senate, with 157 votes to 125, “at the end of an exhausting day of negotiations,” according to La Repubblica.

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Conte had said beforehand that the extension was “inevitable,” and while he asked the Senate for permission, he could have extended the state of emergency without backing from the parliament.

Conte has been using the special powers that come with the state of emergency to take lockdown measures without having to go through parliament. Due to lower numbers of new infections, right wing parties have wanted for Conte to involve parliament again.

The country has been in a state of emergency since the end of January. Before the extension was approved, it was set to end on 31 July.

Italy has counted 246,488 confirmed coronavirus cases and 35,123 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to the Italian Ministry of Health.

The Brussels Times

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