UK business secretary self-isolates
The crisis is an opportunity for “a new beginning”, Italy’s prime minister Giuseppe Conte has said, as he outlines plans for the country’s economic recovery.
“The acute phase of the health emergency is behind us but now we have to deal with the economic emergency,” Conte said, adding that Italy had earmarked €80bn (£71.4bn) worth of measures to help companies and workers affected by the lockdown.
Conte admitted that there have been “delays” in people receiving social benefits, due to the “state apparatus” not being prepared. “But we will improve,” he promised.
The aims of Italy’s “recovery plan” over the next few months include investing in infrastructure, relaunching public and private investments, ensuring broadband availability across the country and encouraging electronic payments to tackle the shadow economy. Conte said the justice and taxation systems also needed to be reformed.
Restrictions on inter-regional travel were lifted on Wednesday and borders opened up to European travellers as Italy tries to revive tourism, a sector crucial to its national economy.
The further easing of restrictions coincides with the sustained fall in deaths and infections since 4 May, when construction and manufacturing activity across the country resumed.
Italy registered 71 news deaths on Wednesday, up from 55 on Tuesday, and 321 new infections, compared to 318 on Tuesday. However, Conte warned citizens to maintain physical distancing and wear face masks.
The numbers are encouraging and we deserve to smile after months of sacrifice … but the virus has not disappeared.