Rome: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte extended the country's national coronavirus lockdown by "at least" additional 20 days to May 3.
The prime minister's announcement on Friday came about one month after the first decree went into force. Since then, Conte has periodically strengthened the terms of the lockdown and extended its length, Xinhua news agency reported.
Before this extension, the measures were scheduled to be lifted on Monday, though reports began circulating on Thursday that it would be extended into May after Conte held a conference call with trade union leaders.
Italy was the first country in Europe to issue a national lockdown as a way to curb the spread of the virus.
The extension means that residents in Italy will not be able to leave their homes except for "vital" reasons, such as food shopping or medical visits, in an extra 20 days.
Italy remains one of the countries hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, with nearly 19,000 deaths and nearly 150,000 infections.
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