Italian Residents Fill The Streets As Lockdown Enters Phase Two
Photographs have captured the moment Italian residents ventured outside their homes as the country enters 'phase two' of its lockdown.
Italy has had the longest lockdown in Europe, with the country shutting down on 10 March - it has now lifted some restrictions as it enters 'phase two' following its lowest death figure yesterday (Sunday 3 March) with 174 deaths.
The country's R rate - the term for the number of people that each person infects - has dropped below one, something health experts say is vitally important before relaxing any lockdown measures.
Prime minister Giuseppe Conte has said the country will undergo a staggered return to normal, with different phases planned.
The new phase means that around 4.4 million people will be heading back to work as the manufacturing and construction industries reopen. Bars and restaurants are open for takeaway and deliveries, but most non-essentials shops remain closed.
Resident still can't leave the region they live in, with the exception of those who were stranded in a different part of the country before the lockdown was introduced, due to work or education.
Public transport is up and running, but passengers must observe social distancing while using it. Parks have reopened to allow people to exercise, but again they must maintain social distancing and keep three feet apart.
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Also from today, up to 15 mourners are allowed to attend funerals but other 'big family gatherings' are still banned.
Italy's health minister Roberto Speranza has warned residents to stick to the rules.
He said: "This game is not won by decree and individual responsibility is fundamental for this second phase. That is, a much more difficult period comes, because there will be many more people around and therefore respecting the rules becomes even more decisive, but I think the country will live up to it."
Italy's culture and tourism minister Dario Franceschini has said he plans to reopen the country to tourists this year.
Denying rumours that Italy would not reopen for international tourism until 2021, he told local media: "As is all too obvious, I have never spoken, nor ever thought, of closing the Italian borders to tourists for 2020. I am working on the exact opposite.
"I proposed yesterday at the meeting of tourism ministers of the European Union, a European uniformity of the safety rules with respect to the risk of contagion, allowing the free movement of tourists within the European Union.
"So we're starting bilateral talks with other countries that have a lot of tourism going to Italy."
Italy has been one of the worst affected countries during the pandemic, with more than 211,000 cases and 28,884 deaths.
Featured Image Credit: MARCO SABADIN/AFP via Getty Images