Italy: bars, restaurants and hairdressers can reopen from 18 May

Italy to give regions the power to roll back coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Italy's regional authorities will have the power to emerge from the nationwide coronavirus restrictions from Monday 18 May, paving the way for the reopening of bars, restaurants, hairdressers, barbers and beauticians across Italy, reports Italian news agency ANSA.

The move, announced by the Italian government late on 11 May, comes amid mounting pressure from many of the 20 regions to be allowed to exit the remaining curbs contained in 'Phase Two' of the country's covid-19 emergency plan.

Under current guidelines laid out by premier Giuseppe Conte, most businesses and museums can reopen on 18 May, however bars, restaurants and hairdressers were due to remain closed until at least 1 June.

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Regional authorities are expected to receive health and safety guidelines from the government in the coming days, giving them autonomy to set their own pace depending on how their region is affected by covid-19.

However the central government will retain the power to intervene directly if the contagion curve rises.

The northern region of Lombardy has accounted for around half of the almost 31,000 deaths in Italy's coronavirus crisis, while other regions have escaped largely unscathed.

The move to reopen comes as the number of new coronavirus cases in Italy drops to 744 - the lowest daily increase since pre-lockdown on 4 March - with the number of intensive care patients falling below 1,000, reports ANSA.

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