Italy to reopen factories in staged end to lockdown

Italy's coronavirus lockdown will begin to lift from May 4th.

Building sites and factories like this car plant in Turin will be allowed to re-open from that date.

With more businesses, such as retailers, to follow in the weeks thereafter.

Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte.

(SOUNDBITE) (Italian) PRIME MINISTER GUISEPPE CONTE SAYING:

"We all want the country to go back to normal, but the only way to live with the virus in this phase is not to get sick and to respect social distancing. If we do not repsect distance and take precautions, the curve will go up again and it may get out of control."

The move comes more than two months after the first case of COVID-19 appeared in a small town outside Milan.

The country's restaurants and bars will be allowed to re-open from the beginning of June.

Limited family visits and funerals with no more than 15 people present will also be permitted, but movement between regions remains suspended.

Italy's death toll remains the heaviest in Europe, with more than 26,000 dead and 200,000 confirmed cases of the disease.