Italy PM says avoiding new lockdown is main aim of new COVID curbs

FILE PHOTO: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte arrives on the second day of a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium October 2, 2020. Olivier Hoslet/Pool via REUTERS

ROME (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Tuesday the main aim of the government’s new COVID-19 restrictions is to avoid a surge in infections which might lead to a nationwide lockdown.

The government decree he signed on Tuesday imposes new curbs on public gatherings, restaurants, sports and school activities after Italy saw its daily coronavirus cases double last week, nearing 6,000 infections on Saturday.

“We must avoid plunging the country into a general lockdown, the economy has started to run again,” Conte told a news conference.

He added that the increase in cases was mainly due to clusters related to families and friends, while the situation in schools was “quite good”.

Reporting by Angelo Amante, editing by Gavin Jones