Italy government

Tenor Andrea Bocelli informs the Italian government about the coronavirus

ROME (Reuters) – Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli issued a scathing criticism of the Italian government’s handling of the coronavirus on Monday, saying he had been humiliated by a recent lockdown and urging people to disobey rules still in place.

FILE PHOTO: Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli rehearses in an empty Duomo square on Easter Sunday before a live concert for the ‘Music for Hope’ event, inside the empty Duomo cathedral , which stands as a symbol of love, hope and healing amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Milan, Italy, April 12, 2020. REUTERS/Alex Fraser/File Photo

His surprise comments at a conference in the Italian Senate were notable as the 61-year-old blind superstar was a symbol of national unity at the height of the lockdown on Easter Sunday when he sang in an empty Milan cathedral in a solo broadcast live. show called Music for Hope.

“I felt humiliated and offended. I couldn’t leave the house even though I hadn’t committed any crime,” Bocelli told the conference attended by opposition politicians including Matteo Salvini, leader of the far-right League party. who attacked the government of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte for the management of the coronavirus crisis.

A nationwide lockdown began in early March and was eased in stages over three months.

Bocelli confessed he disobeyed lockdown rules ‘because I didn’t think it was right or healthy to stay home at my age’.

He also said he believed the situation could not have been as serious as authorities said, as he did not know of anyone who needed to be hospitalized in intensive care.

“So what was all this sense of gravity for?” he said.

More than 35,000 Italians have died from the coronavirus.

Regulations around social distancing and the wearing of masks in indoor public places such as stores are still in effect and Bocelli appeared to be encouraging civil disobedience.

“Let’s refuse to follow this rule. Let’s read books, move, get to know each other, talk, dialogue…” he said.

Reporting by Philip Pullella in Rome; Editing by Matthew Lewis