As Italy emerges from world's longest coronavirus lockdown, worries remain
Italy, one of the worst-hit nations in the coronavirus pandemic, has started to emerge from the world's longest nationwide lockdown imposed to contain the outbreak. For the first time in about nine weeks, Italians on Monday were allowed to visit their relatives. Italy has reported nearly 29,000 deaths, with over 0.2 million infected with the virus.
Construction sites, factories, parks reopen
According to Agence France-Presse, around four million people will be able to return to construction sites and factories with the lockdown being relaxed. Parks have been reopened, restaurants and bars can offer takeaways, while schools, cinemas, and theaters will remain shut. People will have to wear masks in indoor public spaces. They have also been discouraged from using public transport.
'Good to resume work, but world has totally changed'
Gianluca Martucci—who works for a company that organizes wedding and corporate events—was able to return to work. Martucci told Reuters, "It is good to be back, but the world has totally changed," adding that with most events canceled, they are only offering takeaway catering.
Italy was placed under lockdown early-March
Roughly a quarter of Italy's population was placed under lockdown as restrictions were imposed in Northern Italy on March 8. However, amid fears that people might migrate to the less-affected South, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced a nationwide lockdown on March 9. At the time, Italy had reported 724 deaths. Thereafter, more waves of restrictions were introduced as the outbreak worsened.
Some regions had already eased lockdown restrictions
Notably, the lifting of the lockdown is complicated with Italy's decentralized system that allows regions to enforce their own rules. For example, since last week, Venice's Veneto and the southern Calabria region have been serving food and drinks at bars and restaurants with outdoor seating.
'Feeling a mix of joy and fear'
Rome resident Stefano Milano (40) told AFP, "We are feeling a mix of joy and fear." Milano said, "There will be great happiness in being able to go running again carefree, in my son being allowed to have his little cousin over to blow out his birthday candles, to see our parents." He, however, expressed anxieties about his aging parents and cancer-stricken father-in-law.
Fears of unemployment amid ailing economy plague Italians
The coronavirus has left Italy's economy in shambles as it is expected to shrink more than in any year since the 1930s global depression. Reportedly, half of Italy's workforce is also afraid of unemployment. Those already rendered jobless cast doubts about PM Conte's leadership. A Piepoli Institute poll showed that 62% Italians think they will need psychological support to settle in the post-lockdown world.Share this timeline