Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte refused to bow to business pressure and extended the country’s economically-crippling lockdown until May 3.

Conte made the announcement after Italy’s official COVID-19 toll climbed by another 570 fatalities to 18,849 — more than any other country — but with the growth rate now just a fraction of what it was a few weeks ago.
Media reports said business unions from regions responsible for 45% of Italy’s production — and 80% of its coronavirus deaths — had written to Conte warning that companies will be unable to pay wages if the shutdown runs on.
But Conte said Italy could not afford another spike in infections and needed to exercise extra caution in the face of the new disease.

The United State and countries across Europe are watching with interest to see which way Italy chooses as it seeks to come out of its worst crisis since World War II.