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Italy has come out of worst part of virus emergency - PM

FILE PHOTO: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte wearing a protective face mask, leaves the Senate as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Rome, Italy May 20, 2020. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

ROME (Reuters) - Italy has left the worst part of the COVID-19 emergency behind and as lockdown restrictions are slowly lifted the country must now enter the new phase with confidence and responsibility, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Thursday.

“We can say that the worst is behind us... we cannot stop to wait for a vaccine, otherwise we would find ourselves with an irreparably compromised society and production system,” Conte said, outlining the government’s recent stimulus package in parliament.

The premier also said banks “can and must do more, especially to accelerate the procedures to grant state-backed loans.”

Reporting by Angelo Amante; writing by Giulia Segreti