Italy loosens COVID restrictions in five regions, including Lombardy

General view of Milan, as the region of Lombardy becomes a 'red zone' with strict limitations on movement as part of tougher measures to tackle the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Italy

The Italian government will ease anti-COVID restrictions in five regions from Sunday, including in the country’s richest and most populous region Lombardy, the Health Ministry said.

Lombardy, Piedmont and Calabria will be downgraded from red to orange zones, while Sicily and Liguria will be designated as yellow rather than orange zones.

Friday’s decision follows a gradual decline in hospitalisations from coronavirus in much of Italy over the past week, with the number of new cases also retreating from highs seen earlier this month.

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