Milan: Italy will start reopening its manufacturing industry on May 4 as part of plans to ease its coronavirus lockdown, and schools will reopen in September, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in a newspaper interview on Sunday.
"We are working in these hours to allow the reopening of a good part of businesses from manufacturing to construction for May 4," Conte told Italian daily La Repubblica.
He said the measures would be presented by the beginning of next week at the latest.
Italy was the first European country to be hard-hit by the novel coronavirus, and the first to impose a lockdown in March. Its path to reopening its economy is being closely watched around the world as other countries where severe outbreaks arrived in the following week contemplate similar moves.
Conte said companies would have to introduce strict health safety measures before being allowed to open their gates.
But he said some businesses considered "strategic", including activity that was mainly export-oriented, could reopen next week providing they got the go ahead from local prefects.
Conte said schools would reopen in September but added studies showed the risk of contagion was very high. Teaching remotely was working well, he said.