Italy was the first European country to be hit hard by the coronavirus and has officially reported more than 33,000 deaths. It imposed an economically crippling lockdown in early March and has since seen its contagion numbers drop off dramatically.
With the country facing its deepest recession since World War II, it needs foreigners to return, and quickly. But it is still reporting hundreds of new cases a day, particularly in the northern Lombardy region, and experts warn the government may be being hasty in permitting travel between regions and abroad.
“We hoped to see some movement from today, but have no foreign tourists booked in for this week or next,” said Alessandra Conti, a receptionist at the Albergo del Senato hotel which overlooks the Pantheon in Rome.
“We’ve got a few reservations from mid-June… (but) are still getting lots of cancellations for this summer”.
– ‘Like a leper’ –
International flights were only expected to resume in three main cities: Milan, Rome, and Naples. And there were concerns that those who usually come in by car, train, or ferry from neighboring countries would go elsewhere on their holidays.
Switzerland has warned its citizens that if they go to Italy they will be subject to “health measures” on their return. The country will open its borders with Germany, France, and Austria on June 15, but not with Italy.
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