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Doctors, nurses and workers demand govt. help as Italy prepares to ease lockdown

Medical personnel demonstrate outside the Molinette hospital over the lack of personal protection equipment for workers dealing with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Turin, Italy, April 30, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

Four days before Italy begins to gradually lift strict lockdown restrictions, people across the country are increasingly frustrated by the social and economic problems that two months of quarantine has brought.

Doctors and nurses in Turin demonstrated outside their hospital on Thursday over the lack of personal protection equipment for workers dealing with the new coronavirus.

Workers from the Molinette of Turin hospital gathered outside holding banners reading "Heroes in the newspaper headlines…but treated like beggars" and "maybe not everything is going to be ok" - a play on the phrase that has become a symbol of hope and displayed on banners across Italy.

Meanwhile in Rome, a small group of workers protested outside Palazzo Chigi, the prime minister's office, to demand government help as they struggle to pay rent, mortgages and bills.

In a speech to parliament, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said he would gradually relax the country's coronavirus lockdown taking into account differences in contagion levels in different parts of the country.

Conte said a new stimulus package to support the economy, due to be presented in a few days, would include 15 billion euros ($16.3 billion) for companies and 25 billion directly for payroll workers and the self-employed.

The lockdown imposed on March 9 will be gradually rolled back from May 4 and agreed with local authorities "taking account of the regions where the epidemiological situation is less severe," Conte told the lower house of parliament.

However, the prime minister warned regions not to ease restrictions unilaterally, without consultations.

(Source: Reuters)

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