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Italy's foreign minister eyes end to China flight ban

03 marzo 2020 | 20.25
LETTURA: 1 minuti

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The foreign ministry is working to lift a "pointless" ban on commercial flights between Italy and China due to the coronavirus epidemic, foreign minister Luigi Di Maio said in Rome on Tuesday.

"The foreign ministry has been for some days actively asking those who put the flight ban in place to remove it as it is pointless," Di Maio told an event at the foreign ministry.

The flight ban, imposed in late January, has been widely criticised for removing control of passengers travelling to Italy from China as they can simply take a flight to another country and travel on to Italy from there.

"I can understand putting the 'Red Zones' on lockdown," Di Maio said, referring to 11 towns in northern Italy where the vast majority of coronavirus infections and deaths have occurred.

"But closing off the whole of Italy is unacceptable," he said.

He was speaking at the launch in Rome of a special plan that contains 716 million euros of funds to promote 'Made in Italy' goods abroad and to help Italian companies survive the dramatic coronavirus outbreak.

Italy has reported the highest number of coronavirus deaths - 79 - outside China and 2,263 cases of the disease have been confirmed, Italy's coronavirus emergency chief, Angelo Borrelli said on Tuesday.

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