In pictures: Four million Italians return to work as two-month coronavirus lockdown is eased

Ross McGuinness

More than four million Italians returned to work on Monday as the government began to ease the coronavirus lockdown.

Almost two months after they were ordered to stay at home in the effort to fight the spread of COVID-19, Italians were allowed to take trains and buses and parks were reopened.

The health ministry reported 174 deaths in the 24 hours up until Sunday evening - the lowest daily total since the lockdown began on March 10.

According to Johns Hopkins University, there have been 28,884 deaths from coronavirus in Italy, and more than 210,000 cases.

On Monday, 4.5m people were allowed back to work, while construction can also resume and relatives can reunite.

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Cafes were allowed to open for the first time since the lockdown for takeaways.

However, several restrictions remain in place. Friends are not allowed to meet up, while most shops must stay closed until 18 May and schools, cinemas and theatres remain shut indefinitely.

More than 1,000 daily new cases of COVID-19 are still being reported daily in Italy.

“If we want to avoid painful backward steps, now more than ever, we need co-operation, a sense of responsibility, respect for the rules by all,” said Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte.

Gianluca Martucci joined the ranks of those returning to work for the first time in two months, pulling up the shutters on a small warehouse which houses the catering firm he works for in Rome.

“It is good to be back, but the world has totally changed,” he said.

“The government has been very wise so far, but I worry that we might be starting up a little too soon. I don’t know if the country could survive a second wave.”

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