Italy planning to extend coronavirus lockdown until May 3: Sources

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The Italian government is planning to extend its lockdown to contain the country's COVID-19 outbreak until May 3, two trade union sources told Reuters on Thursday after meeting ministers.

The lockdown, closing most Italian businesses and preventing people leaving their homes for all but essential needs, has been in place since March 9 and was due to end on April 13.

However, the union sources and an industry source said the closure of all industries not essential to the supply chain could be slightly eased before the end of April, with a few factory sites allowed to reopen if health conditions permitted.

Data from the Civil Protection Agency earlier on Thursday showed that deaths from the coronavirus and new infections both accelerated over the past 24 hours compared with the day before.

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Meanwhile Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told trade unions on Thursday the government did not yet consider it possible to re-start production in factories shut down to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, a union leader said.

"The Prime Minister confirmed that the conditions to restart the suspended activities are not yet in place," UIL union leader Carmelo Barbagallo said in a statement after meeting Conte with other unions and business lobbies.