Today saw an additional 578 deaths – bringing the total to 21,645 – compared to 602 on Tuesday, according to the Civil Protection Agency.
The number of confirmed cases in Italy today rose by 2,667 – a sharp drop from daily increases of more than 6,000, which the country endured late last month.
Italy has now seen a total of 165,155 infections.
The country that was once the epicentre of European infections is now seeing the rate of infections and deaths stabilise, sparking authorities to reopen parts of the economy.
Today saw an additional 578 deaths – bringing the total to 21,645 – compared to 602 on Tuesday, according to the Civil Protection Agency
The number of confirmed cases in Italy rose by 2,667 – a sharp drop from daily increases of more than 6,000, which the country endured late last month
Italy is opening a handful of stores including bookshops and stationery shops in a trial to see how social distancing measures can work after the lockdown, which otherwise remains in force.
However, some regions have chosen not to take full advantage. Bookshops will not open for another week in Rome and will stay closed altogether in Lombardy.
In Austria, which was the first European country to announce specific plans for ending the lockdown, shoppers were queuing outside hardware stores wearing compulsory masks as small shops re-opened today.
Experts are not expecting a surge in customers, because some people will still be too worried to make unnecessary shopping trips and certain stores may choose to stay closed.
Meanwhile, industrial and construction work is resuming in
Some commuters in Spain said they felt reassured by the 10million masks which authorities are handing out this week.
Elsewhere, Denmark is lining up a quicker-than-expected end to the lockdown after hospital cases continued to fall while Iceland says it will start easing restrictions next month.
In Italy, most lockdown measures have been extended until May 3 but bookshops, stationery shops and stores selling children’s clothes are allowed to re-open from today.
ITALY: A worker in full protective gear including gloves and a mask inspects the stock at a children’s clothes store in Rome’s Trastevere district on April 14, as Italy allowed a limited number of shops to re-open
The slightly loosened restrictions also include forestry and the wood industry on the list of permitted economic activities.
Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte wants a wider economic restart ‘as soon as possible’ but the government says that ‘the conditions are not yet in place’.
Italy has been under a nationwide lockdown since March 9, longer than any other European country, and has seen the infection rate slow considerably in that time.
There is also some disagreement among regions. The governor of Lombardy says bookshops in his hard-hit region will remain closed, but the leader of Liguria wants some construction sites to re-open, Italian media says.
The Lazio region which includes Rome will delay the re-opening of bookshops until next week so that they can be cleaned, while Campania will open the children’s clothes shops only two mornings a week.
Piedmont, which includes Turin, is not loosening the lockdown at all, according to news agency ANSA.