With files from the Associated Press
The Italian government is reportedly set to announce an easing of Covid-19 restrictions in certain regions despite warnings from health experts that it is too soon to relax measures designed to control the spread of the virus.
Veneto, near Venice, Calabria in the south, and Emilia-Romagna in the north of the country are all expected to be downgraded from ‘orange’ to ‘yellow’ zones, according to local reports. The move would allow bars and restaurants to reopen, as well giving residents more freedom to move around their areas.
The World Health Organization, however, has warned that it is “too early to ease up,” as there is “still [a] very high” presence of the virus in the country.
A public health expert who advises the Italian health minister has echoed this note of caution, telling AFP that Italy was “bucking the trend,” while other European nations remain in lockdown and some are even considering stricter measures.
“If we don’t have a government with full powers… it is clear that the situation in Italy risks becoming even more critical,” Walter Ricciardi cautioned.
However, Ricciardi acknowledged growing resistance from politicians and the public to remaining under lockdown.
Italy was one of the first countries in Europe to be infected with Covid-19, with the nation recording 2.5 million cases and 86,889 deaths from the virus since the start of the pandemic.