>>>ANSA/We don't know how long COVID will last warns Draghi

Government meets regions on 'reopening' Italy

(ANSA) - ROME, APR 20 - Premier Mario Draghi said Tuesday that the COVID-19 emergency has highlighted the need to look long term and invest in the health sector.
    "The current pandemic forces us to be better prepared for the future," Draghi said as he took part in a webinar with European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen to listen to representatives of civil society ahead of the Global Health Summit in Rome on May 21.
    "Our work must start now because we don't know how long this pandemic will last or when the next one will strike.
    "We must support research, strengthen supply chains and restructure the national health systems.
    "We have to strengthen coordination and global cooperation".
    The government is set to hold a fresh meeting with Italy's regions on Tuesday on easing COVID restrictions and 'reopening' the country.
    The meeting will be preceded by a session of the government's scientific and technical committee (CTS).
    On Wednesday or Thursday there will be a cabinet meeting on the issue.
    Eleven regions plus the autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano are hoping to go into a low-to-moderate COVID risk 'yellow zone' when restrictions are eased next Monday, April 26.
    The COVID positivity rate in Italy is a still at a relatively high 6%.
    Schools are at the centre of the debate.
    Among the ideas for reopening next Monday are staggered timetables, boosting school transport and saliva tests.
    The CTS is expected to rule on pushing back a curfew from ten o'clock to eleven o'clock or midnight and on vaccine passes.
    Nationalist League party leader Matteo Salvini said Tuesday that "we will propose a curfew at 23:00; on reopenings we are halfway through the job, and limiting them to open-air activities seems useless to me".
    Italy has passed 11 million people who have had at least one dose of a COVID vaccine.
    Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese said: "We will do the checks and we will be particularly rigid because we can't risk throwing away what we have done so far." She said "we believe in the reopenings and in the sense of responsibility of all of us".


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