The Italian government is preparing a five-point plan for the controlled reopening of the country as its coronavirus epidemic abates, Health Minister, Roberto Speranza, said on Sunday.
Italy has faced the most serious outbreak in Europe.
However, the contagion is slowing and there are signs of impatience and lockdown fatigue among businesses and the population.
Speranza, speaking to La Repubblica newspaper, said the government would maintain social-distancing rules, develop home medicine tools to treat more people outside hospitals and massively scale-up testing.
“Testing millions of people should reveal how many Italians have been infected, if and how they are immune, how many and in which areas they can return to a normal life,’’ the minister said.
He also talked about opening more dedicated COVID-19 hospitals and developing an app to track the infected and give them remote access to medical care.
Speranza urged caution, saying there would be “no single day on which we will be able to say it’s all over,’’ and that it would be “irresponsible” to promise a date for a return to normality.
Echoing experts’ warnings that the emergency would be fully over, only when a vaccine is found, the minister talked about creating “the conditions for cohabitation with this virus’’.
Italy has been under lockdown since March 10.
Restrictions expire on April 13 and according to multiple press reports, a limited number of industries may be allowed to reopen after that date.
On Saturday, Italy’s daily COVID-19 death toll fell below 700 for the first time in nine days.
However, the country’s overall death toll, at 15,362, remains the world’s highest. (dpa/NAN)