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COVID-19: Andrea Bocelli 'felt humiliated and offended' by Italy's lockdown

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Andrea Bocelli performs outside Milan's Duomo Catherdal on May 26, 2020
Andrea Bocelli performs outside Milan's Duomo Catherdal on May 26, 2020   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Luca Bruno, File
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Opera star Andrea Bocelli attacked Italy's lockdown measures during a conference about the coronavirus pandemic with politicians and experts at Rome's Giovanni Spadolini library on Monday.

The 61-year old tenor said he "felt humiliated and offended" after he "got deprived" of his "freedom of going out without having committed any crime".

He also confessed to having flouted lockdown rules, saying: "It didn't seem right and healthy to remain home, to me."

"I need the sun," he added.

Bocelli also cast doubts on the "gravity" of the coronavirus pandemic.

"I know a lot of people, but I haven't known anybody who ended up in intensive care. Nobody," he said.

The singer added that his sons criticised him for his opinion on the matter, telling him to concentrate on opera instead.

But Bocelli's statement prompted criticism from some experts.

"It hasn't got any scientific basis. It's an inappropriate message with evident elements of danger," the head of infectious diseases at the University of Milan Massimo Galli told Italian news agency ANSA.

The Rome conference, which some Italian media have said was organised by coronavirus "deniers", was also attended by Italy's opposition leader Matteo Salvini, who has said Conte and his government's confinement measures were excessive.

Italy underwent a strict nationwide lockdown from March 9 to May 4. It was the first county in Europe to implement such radical measures.

People were not allowed to leave their homes except to shop for groceries, for medical visits and to go to work where working from home was not possible. All non-essential businesses were shut.

The country has been one of Europe's worst-hit in the coronavirus pandemic, accounting for over 246,000 cases and more than 35,000 deaths.

The number of new cases, however, has steadily begun to decrease in recent months, and the government has relaxed rules to permit free movement within and outside the country as well as allowing most business activities to reopen.

Social-distancing rules remain in place.