Coronavirus: Italy easing lockdown as Serie A clubs eye May 18 training return


Italy has announced it is to ease lockdown measures in plans that will allow sports teams to return to training on May 18.

Prime minister Giuseppe Conte confirmed on Sunday that restrictions would begin to be relaxed from May 4 after stringent rules were enforced following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Italy has been one of the worst-affected nations, with over 26,000 deaths, but it is now preparing to take some steps back towards the normality that existed before COVID-19 arrived.

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Conte warned that social-distancing rules would still need to apply, with sportspeople allowed to train individually from May 4 and in groups from May 18.

Serie A was halted last month and it remains to be seen when it will return, although Conte suggested many more services could be up and running by June.

Speaking at a media conference about the sport so beloved in his country, Conte said: "I am passionate about football, like many Italians, so it did seem strange that the season could be suspended, but even the most passionate supporters realised there was no alternative.

"Minister for sport Vincenzo Spadafora will work intensively over the next few days with the experts, scientists and sporting figures to undertake training individually from May 4, in groups from May 18, and then we'll evaluate if there are the conditions to allow the season to be completed.

"Right now, we need to complete all the discussions to ensure that if we do reach that stage, we'll do so in the utmost safety and security.

"We are passionate about sport and don't want our idols to get ill."

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