Italy shouldn’t have moved to reopen its borders without coordinating with other EU member states first, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said, as a non-uniform Covid-19 pandemic response tests the bloc’s unity.
Following more than two months of statewide lockdowns, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced on Saturday that the country will allow entry to European tourists, while the mandatory 14-day quarantine will be scrapped from June 3. France immediately slammed its neighbor for undermining the idea of European solidarity.
“It’s very important for us to coordinate our decisions on the European level, especially, regarding the Schengen Area. But today it’s not happening,” Castaner said.
In France, travel restrictions will remain in place until at least June 15, the minister said earlier this month. “The closure of the borders is a rule… we have to keep this protection in place, this will not change soon,” Castaner stated back then.
With 31,763 and 27,625 Covid-19 fatalities to date, Italy and France are among the hardest-hit EU nations, but the authorities in Rome seem to be in a greater rush to return to normal life and revive the stalled economy than their counterparts in Paris.
Besides opening up for European travelers, Italy will also allow shops to resume operations on Monday. Gyms, swimming pools, and sports centers are set to reopen on May 25, with theaters and cinemas to follow from June 15.
“We’re facing a calculated risk, knowing that the epidemiological curve could rise again,” Conte said as he detailed the rollback of the coronavirus lockdown. The statistics so far seem to be on the PM’s side, with Saturday’s death toll in Italy falling to 153, the lowest since March 9.
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