Italy likely to extend state of emergency due to coronavirus crisis, PM says

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte attends tests of flood barrier project Experimental Electromechanical Module (Mose) in Venice, Italy, July 10, 2020. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo

ROME (Reuters) - Italy will likely extend a state of emergency beyond its current deadline of July 31 due to the new coronavirus crisis, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Friday.

“The possible extension simply means that we are in a position to continue taking the necessary measures” to face the epidemic, Conte said, speaking on the sidelines of a ceremony in Venice.

Italy declared a six-month state of emergency at the end of January, allowing the government to cut through red tape quickly if needed, after two Chinese tourists tested positive for the new coronavirus in the first cases detected in the country.