"The corresponding order [on extending the quarantine until April 13] has been signed, and we cannot ease restrictive measures and we cannot promise that they will be eased from April 14," Conte told a press conference on Wednesday. "When experts approve, we will move to phase 2 and gradually lift the quarantine. Then phase 3 will follow, and we will lift the state of emergency," he added. "If we start easing measures now, then all the efforts made so far will be in vain," he noted.
Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza earlier announced that the quarantine measures will be extended, and schools will remain closed.
The quarantine was imposed in Italy on March 10. Over 110,000 coronavirus cases were confirmed in the country, and more than 13,000 people died from coronavirus-associated illnesses and complications.
In late December 2019, Chinese authorities notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus — named COVID-19 by the WHO — have been reported in more than 160 countries, including Russia.