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  • Italy is looking ahead to a second phase of the crisis in which it will attempt to restart the economy without triggering a second wave of the disease.

    Italy is looking ahead to a second phase of the crisis in which it will attempt to restart the economy without triggering a second wave of the disease. | Photo: AFP

Published 26 April 2020
Opinion

Italy is looking ahead to a second phase of the crisis in which it will attempt to restart the economy without triggering a second wave of the disease.

Italy will begin to re-open its strategic sectors after almost two months of quarantine as it prepares a staged end to Europe’s longest COVID-19 lockdown, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte informed Sunday.

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“We expect a very complex challenge,” Conte said as he outlined the roadmap to restarting activities put into hibernation since early March. “We will live with the virus and we will have to adopt every precaution possible.”

The first sector that will be allowed to restart activities will be manufacturers, construction companies, and some wholesalers before allowing more businesses to open in the following weeks. 

Two weeks later it will be the turn for retailers, while restaurants and bars will be allowed to re-open fully from the beginning of June although takeaway business will be possible earlier.

More than two months after the first case of COVID-19 appeared in a small town outside Milan and following weeks of lockdown, Italy is looking ahead to a second phase of the crisis in which it will attempt to restart the economy without triggering a second wave of the disease.

The southern European nation became the epicenter of the virus in the western world before it was quickly topped by Spain and then the United States. As of Sunday, Italy has registered over 197,000 cases and around 27,000 deaths.

Now the country will have to cope with the economic effects of the pandemic. The National Confederation of Direct Farmers (Coldiretti) reported that one million Italians have fallen into poverty and need urgent food aid due to the pandemic's consequences.

The greatest poverty-related problems are in southern Italy, particularly in the Campania region where there is a 20 percent increase in poverty, followed by Calabria (14 percent), Sicily (11 percent), Lazio (10 percent), and Lombardy (nine percent).

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