Italy set to prolong lockdown, invest many billions more

Rome (dpa) - Italy's nationwide coronavirus lockdown is bound to be extended beyond the initial April 3 end date, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Thursday.

"We have avoided the collapse of the system, the restrictive measures are working," Conte told the Corriere della Sera newspaper.
"[But] it's obvious that when we reach a peak and contagion begins to diminish ... hopefully in a few days, things won't get back to normal right away," he said.
Italy is combating Europe's worst outbreak of the Covid-19 disease caused by the new coronavirus, with more than 35,000 infections and a death toll of 2,978 as of Wednesday.
News agency ANSA meanwhile published a picture of a column of army trucks moving through the northern city of Bergamo at night.
They were carrying 60 coffins of victims to crematoria in other regions because the city's cemetery was full, it reported.
"At the moment I can't reasonably say anything more, but it's clear that the measures we have taken ... will have to be prolonged once they run out," Conte said.
The government was working on an investment plan on a scale "never seen before" to combat the economic impact of the outbreak, Conte said.
The government already on Monday approved a 25-billion-euro (27.1-billion-dollar) aid package for businesses, workers and the health system.
The new package could amount to "50, 70 or 100 billion euros," Conte said.

Thursday, March 19th 2020

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