Italy, the first country in the world to impose a nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, eased some restrictions on Monday as the number of new infections continued to decline.
Starting Monday, parks and public gardens will reopen, people will be allowed to visit relatives within the same region, restaurants can provide takeaway services and athletes will be able to resume training for individual sports. Still, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has insisted that social distancing must remain at all times and large gatherings will not be permitted.
Construction sites, factories and wholesale supply businesses were allowed to resume work last week or as soon as they implement safety measures against the novel coronavirus. An estimated 4.4 million people in Italy have been able to return to work.
Then if all goes well, shops, museums and libraries will reopen on May 18, followed by bars, restaurants, cafes and beauty salons on June 1. Schools, however, will not reopen before September, according to Conte.
A number of other countries in Europe and around the world have also begun relaxing coronavirus-related restrictions or have announced plans to do so imminently.
Italy, one of the worst-hit countries in the pandemic, has been under a nationwide lockdown since March 9. More than 210,000 people in the European country have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and nearly 29,000 have died, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
Italy reported some 1,400 new cases on Sunday, down from its peak of around 6,600 new cases on March 21.