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The Italian government has signed a decree that will allow travel to and from the country from June 3, as it moves to ease its coronavirus lockdown measures, it was reported on Saturday.

The decree was signed by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Friday and published early on Saturday, the BBC reported.

It will also allow travel between the regions, which has so far been tightly restricted, from the same day.

Italy, one of the worst affected nations in the world, was the first country in Europe to impose nationwide restrictions when coronavirus cases began to surface in northern regions in February.

But it began to relax those measures earlier this month, when it allowed factories and parks to reopen on May 4.

Shops and restaurants are also due to reopen from May 18 provided that social distancing was enforced.

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A woman walks past the Colosseum in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Elisa Lingria/Xinhua)

Catholic churches weree preparing for the resumption of Mass on the same day, but there will be strict social distancing and worshippers must wear face masks, reports the BBC.

Other faiths will also be allowed to hold religious services.

Conte’s announcement on Friday came shortly after the country, which was once the global epicentre of the pandemic, reported a further decline in its daily death toll.

It reported more than 900 deaths on March 27, but the authorities said there were 262 on Friday.

Earlier this week, the government approved a $59 billion stimulus package designed to offset the economic impact of the pandemic on businesses and families.

As of Saturday, Italy had 223,885 COVID-19 cases, with 31,610 deaths.

‘Switzerland closer with EU’

The coordinated response to coronavirus crisis has reinforced the tie between Switzerland and European Union (EU), Ignazio Cassis, head of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, said.

“We have cooperated a lot with our neighbours on very concrete issues, we got along well and I hope this will leave traces in our relations,” he was cited by Swiss broadcasting company RTS as saying on Friday, Xinhua news agency reported.

According to the information from the Swiss Government, Switzerland has helped 2,000 European citizens return home with its repatriation flights, and the hospitalization of French patients in Switzerland also earned gratitude from its neighbouring countries.

“We are in a global crisis which requires a global response,” stressed Cassis, “all alone, we are too weak, we need others.”

As virus shutdowns relaxed, Switzerland has decided to reopen the borders with France, Germany and Austria from June 15.

So far, the COVID-19 case tally in Switzerland has reached 30,514, and the death toll stands at 1,595.

Also Read – Oxford’s Vaccine Development Sees Progress

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