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Italy’s PM Conte to ease lockdown based on ‘differences in local contagion levels’

Italy’s PM Conte to ease lockdown based on ‘differences in local contagion levels’

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Thursday he would gradually relax Italy’s coronavirus lockdown taking into account differences in contagion levels in various parts of the country.

Conte told the lower house of parliament that a new stimulus package to support the economy, due to be presented in a few days, would include €15 billion ($16.3 billion) for companies and €25 billion directly for payroll workers and the self-employed.

The lockdown imposed on March 9 will be gradually rolled back from May 4 and agreed with local authorities “taking account of the regions where the epidemiological situation is less severe,” Conte said. The PM warned regions not to ease restrictions unilaterally.

The government earlier set aside €3.3 billion ($3.6 billion) for employees at small companies, and predicted 2.3 million people would sign up; but as of April 27, the program had helped just 29,000 workers, a Reuters report said on Wednesday.