Italy on Friday reported 242 more fatalities from the novel coronavirus, bringing the toll to 31,610, as the government finalizes new rules for shops and restaurants that would reopen from Monday. 

Data released by the country’s Civil Protection Department confirmed the peak of the outbreak was left behind, while the economic and social consequences of the two-month-long lockdown are now emerging. 

The tally of active infections on Friday fell by another 4,370, placing the total at 72,070.

Meanwhile, recoveries continued to climb, crossing the 120,000 mark, as more patients left intensive care, easing pressure on Italy’s overwhelmed healthcare system.

The epicenter of the Italian outbreak remains the northern Lombardy region, where fatalities have kept rising to reach 15,411, almost half of the country’s total deaths.

The government met regional representatives on Friday to discuss the guidelines regions will have to follow as retailers – including bars, restaurants and hairdressers – restart their activities next week.

Many of the regions, however, especially in the north, are tempted to follow their own rules, creating further confusion. 

Citizens will be allowed to move more freely within their own region, while trips to other regions will still be limited. 

The government late on Wednesday approved a new economic aid package worth €55 billion ($59 billion) aimed at helping families and businesses hit by the COVID-19 outbreak.

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