ROME - Many Italians were displeased with the details provided by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte regarding an end to the total coronavirus lockdown. They feel the government’s concessions and measures that will characterize Phase Two are chaotic, lack logic, do not go far enough and will further cripple the economy.
Restrictions on Italians due to the coronavirus pandemic will start to be eased on May 4 but very gradually as the government is still fearful that the number of infections could easily rise again. Addressing the nation on live television Sunday evening, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte appealed to Italians to maintain their sense of responsibility during Phase Two, in which the country must co-exist with the virus.
During Phase Two, Conte said, it will be even more important to maintain social distancing and fundamental will be the responsible behavior of each person. If you care about Italy, he added, you must avoid the spread of infections.
The prime minister said Italians will now be allowed to meet family members but only in small groups. They will still not be allowed to move from one Italian region to another unless they have a valid motivation, for work or health matters, and everyone will still be required to carry a form explaining the reason for their travel.
Parks will reopen and Italians will no longer be obliged to stay within close range of their homes. Factories and construction sites will be able to resume their activities. But bars and restaurants will only be able to provide takeaway service for the time being. Conte said no one will be returning to school until September. Parents were left wondering what they will do with their children.
Many Italians who have had enough of staying indoors for weeks voiced their dissatisfaction with the decisions taken by the government. They do not understand the logic behind the different dates provided for re-openings. Why can museums open their doors on May 18 but hairdressers not until June 1st? The prime minister stressed re-openings would require the full respect of security protocols.
Italian right-wing politician Giorgia Meloni spoke shortly after the prime minister’s Sunday evening address to the nation on live television and echoed the feelings of many in this country. She said that like everyone else in Italy she waited with great trepidation for the prime minister’s details of Phase Two expecting important announcements only to discover there were hardly any changes at all.
Meloni said there should be a logic and the logic cannot be the discrimination of certain sectors. Why are some being helped, and others left to die? She said Italians have for weeks accepted the government rules in the name of public health and to deal with this pandemic but now they feel many of their rights are being trodden on.
Meloni said she did not agree that some cannot reopen for another month because this will mean that some will never reopen. The state, she insisted, has not provided valid reasons for their decisions or the required financial assistance.
Italy has had the highest number of deaths from coronavirus in Europe with more than 26,000. There were 260 virus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, the lowest number in the past 6 weeks.