The Italian government has signed a decree that will allow travel to and from the country as of June 3, as it prepares to soften its coronavirus control measures.
It will also allow travel between regions – so far strictly limited – from the same day.
This decision marks a major step in the country’s efforts to reopen its economy after more than two months of foreclosure.
Italy has one of the highest death rates in the world, but its infection rate has dropped sharply in recent days.
More than 31,600 people died from the virus in the country, the third highest figure behind the United States and the United Kingdom.
It was the first country in Europe to impose nationwide restrictions when cases of coronavirus began to surface in northern regions in February.
But it began easing those measures earlier this month, allowing factories and parks to reopen on May 4.
The latest decree was signed by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and released early Saturday.
Some Italian regions have called for more relaxed restrictions, but Prime Minister Conte has said they will be relaxed gradually to avoid a second wave of cases.
Shops and restaurants are also due to reopen from May 18, provided social distancing is respected.
Catholic churches are preparing for the resumption of Mass on the same day, but there will be strict social distancing and the faithful must wear masks. Other denominations will also be allowed to organize religious services.
All travel restrictions will be lifted from June 3.
Conte’s announcement came shortly after the country, which was once the global epicenter of the pandemic, announced a further decline in the number of deaths per day.
He said more than 900 people died on March 27, but authorities said there were 262 on Friday.
Earlier this week, the government approved a $ 55 billion (£ 48 billion; $ 59 billion) stimulus package to offset the economic impact of the pandemic on businesses and families.
In other global developments:
- European countries have continued to report a decline in the number of deaths per day, as blockages begin to ease. Portugal, Spain and Greece are among the countries that have eased their measures
- Germany’s economy – Europe’s largest – has entered recession after declining 2.2% in the first three months of this year, spurred by the pandemic
Nelson Teich became the second Brazilian Minister of Health to resign in a month, following disagreements with President Jair Bolsonaro on the government’s response to the epidemic
- President Donald Trump has promised that the United States will reopen “the vaccine or no vaccine.” He announced a goal to deliver a coronavirus jab by the end of the year
- UK infection rate has increased and is now closer to the point where the virus begins to spread quickly, government says
- Over 4.5 million cases of coronavirus have now been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University – around a third of them have recovered