World News

Italian president, in response to Johnson, says Italy also freedom-loving, but serious

Italian President Sergio Mattarella speaks during a rare televised address to the nation as Italy battles a spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Rome, Italy, March 27, 2020. Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS

ROME (Reuters) - Italian President Sergio Mattarella, responding to comments from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the spread of coronavirus, said on Thursday that Italy loved freedom, but was also serious.

Johnson told parliament in London this week that Britain had a worse infection rate than nations like Italy and Germany because it was a “freedom-loving country” which therefore resisted social restrictions to curb the virus.

Asked about the comment during a visit to Sardinia, Mattarella said: “We Italians also love freedom, but we also care about seriousness.”

Reporting by Angelo Amante; Writing by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Gavin Jones