Italy ‘considering psychological tests’ to judge how long people can stay at home

Italy 'considering psychological tests' to judge how long people can stay at home
Children play outside their building in Rome. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP
Italian scientists want the government to conduct psychological tests on a sample of the population to determine how long people can stay confined to their homes, a report said on Monday.

The Corriere della Sera newspaper said scientists want to understand how long Italians “are able to endure a lockdown” in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will announce a new set of social guidelines this week that could include the tests, the report said.

READ ALSO: When will Italy's lockdown 'phase two' begin and what will it involve?

Other measures under consideration include a self-certification form for businesses that wish to reopen stating that they have complied with mandatory precautions such as thorough cleaning and distancing between employees, according to the Corriere.

Some restaurants could be allowed to offer takeaway as well as delivery, while passengers may be required to maintain a minimum distance on public transport or even encouraged to use their own vehicles by lifting the usual traffic restrictions on city centres.

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Italy entered into a progressively more restrictive lockdown over the first half of March that has since been replicated by most European nations.

The country's 60 million citizens have been barred from walking more than 200 metres from their homes without an essential reason, such as getting groceries or medication, seeing a doctor or walking the dog.

Reports of domestic abuse have surged and scientists worry about the impact of such isolation on the elderly and the more vulnerable.


Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Conte's government is now debating how it can lift the stay-at-home order and reopen businesses while there is still no coronavirus cure or vaccine.

Conte is expected to let people out of their homes for more reasons when the current lockdown rules expire on May 4th — though restrictions are expected to continue in some form for several more months.

Next month is hoped to mark the beginning of “phase two”, the intermediary period between the current strict lockdown and “phase three”, during which the country will begin its gradual return to normality.

READ ALSO: Why our readers say Italy's lockdown must continue despite 'financial strain and heartbreak'

The second phase, in which businesses are set to be gradually reopened and some freedom of movement returned, could last between “six to eight months”, experts have said.

The new coronavirus has officially killed 23,660 in Italy — second only to the United States — and probably many more because most care home deaths are not counted.

Some of Italy's top scientific experts have said phase two can't begin until the daily increase in cases slows below 1 percent. The latest figures put the day-on-day rise at 1.7 percent.


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