Italy’s parliament on Tuesday approved a request by prime minister Giuseppe Conte to extend the coronavirus-related state of emergency until October 15, expanding the government’s powers despite protests from the opposition.

The government declared a 6-month state of emergency on January 31.

“The virus continues to evolve and has not run its course. It would be incongruous to abruptly suspend such an effective measure”, Conte said. The prime minister drew back from initial plans to seek an extension until the end of the year.

“There is no health emergency, anyone who wants to extend the state of emergency is an enemy of Italy”, League leader Matteo Salvini said last week.

The upper house Senate passed the measure by 157 votes to 125 in the 319-seat chamber. The lower house votes on the measure on Wednesday.


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