Italian prime minister on fighting coronavirus: 'Our response has not been perfect'

Italian prime minister on fighting coronavirus: 'Our response has not been perfect'
© Anna Moneymaker

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Sunday his country's response to the coronavirus pandemic has not been without flaws, but he said the model has been followed by other countries as the virus continued to spread globally. 

Our response has not been perfect, maybe, but we have been acting [to] the best of our knowledge,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press." “Today, I see that our model is implemented by other countries and its validity has been acknowledged by the WHO [World Health Organization], and the results so far indicate that we are on the right path.”

Italy was among the first countries to be hit hard as the virus spread outside of China.

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Conte said "in this moment" he can’t say when Italy’s nationwide lockdown will end, adding that officials are following the suggestions of the scientific community. 

“Therefore, the most important message to give to our citizens is: Stay home as much as possible. Do not go, do not go out. And if you must leave your home, for example, to go to work or to buy food, always inspect all surfaces you use,” he added. “We are asking our people a great sacrifice, I am aware of it, but it is the only way to defeat the pandemic altogether. The more we respect the rules, the sooner we will get out.”

Conte also joined a call issued by the United Nations secretary-general for a global ceasefire. 

He said all countries are together fighting on the front line against this “invisible enemy.” 

“It is time for all the parties in conflict, stop fighting each other and unite against an enemy which won't make a difference and will kill them all,” he said. 

Italy has more than 124,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 15,000 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.