Italy extends state of emergency over the covid-19 crisis until 15 October 2020.
The Italian government has extended the country's existing state of emergency, which expands the government’s powers in tackling the coronavirus health crisis, until 15 October.
The extension of the current state of emergency - introduced six months ago and set to expire on 31 July - was approved on 29 July, despite objections from the opposition which accused Italian premier Giuseppe Conte of trying to keep too much power despite a dramatic fall in the rate of contagion.
Describing the extension as "inevitable," Conte told the senate: “The virus continues to evolve and has not run its course. It would be incongruous to abruptly suspend such an effective measure.”
However Conte also stressed that there was "no intention to dramatise the situation" or to fuel "an unjustified state of alarm."
What exactly is the state of emergency?
The state of emergency grants special powers to national and regional authorities in tackling the fallout from the coronavirus crisis quickly, cutting through the usual bureaucratic procedures to implement, modify or revoke emergency measures if and when required.
It will also facilitate the continuation of smart-working, will allow for the ban on flights to and from countries considered at risk, and will speed up the process in getting schools ready to reopen in September, reports Italian news agency ANSA.
The move comes after Italy secured €208.8 billion in grants and loans as part of the EU Recovery Fund, a massive stimulus package to boost Europe's coronavirus-hit economies. The rescue deal, which allocates 28 per cent of the total fund for Italy, was hailed as "historic" by Conte.