Italy to reopen borders next month as lockdown measures ease

FILE PHOTO: A woman wearing a face mask walks in a street, as Italy begins to ease some of the restrictions of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown, in Taormina, Italy, May 12, 2020. REUTERS/Antonio Parrinello

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte outlined a further loosening of movement restrictions on Saturday, including opening borders to travellers from Europe from next month to unwind one of the world’s most rigid coronavirus lockdowns.

With shops as well as bars and restaurants due to reopen from Monday, the government has also announced that 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,” he said.

The announcements came as coronavirus deaths in Italy, the third-highest in the world, fell to 153 on Saturday, the lowest since March 9.

A ban on travel between regions and abroad will remain in place until after Italy’s June 2 Republic Day holiday, preventing any mass travel over that long holiday weekend.

But all travel curbs will be lifted from June 3 and travellers from European Union countries will be able to enter without going into quarantine, offering some hope ahead of the summer to the vital tourism sector.

Conte said the decision to lift curbs was a “calculated risk” but added: “We’re facing this risk and we have to accept it because otherwise we will never get started again.”

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