By Alexandria Hoff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As governors in the United States formulate plans to reopen their state’s economies, hard-hit Italy is also slowly lifting its lockdown. But fears of a second surge are very real.

Italy, in its entirety, has been on lockdown since March 9, and in northern regions, earlier than that, as the country was harrowed by the earliest surge of COVID-19 cases outside of China.

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Seven weeks later, a date for the easement of some restrictions has been set.

“The lockdown for me was relative because I had to go to the hospital,” Dr. Vittoria Errigo said.

Errigo works in the cardiology ward at a hospital in Naples. She’s also CBS3’s Alexandria Hoff’s second cousin.

(credit: CBS3)

“The lockdown here in Italy started quite early when the situation here in the south of Italy was still under control,” Dr. Errigo said.

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On Italian streets, activity is slowly starting to emerge again, with some small businesses reopening their doors.

Officially though, Italy’s prime minister plans to reopen the country in gradual phases, starting May 4.

“After the 4th of May, other productive activities, other productive business will be open again as long as they can assure safety measurements,” Dr. Errigo said.

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She believes the reopening process in Italy and in the United States will be the most important phase of fighting the virus.

“Most of the population is not immune yet to the virus so a cautious reopening could lead to a new contagion and a new lockdown,” she said.

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Leaders in the tri-state area have also warned if the virus were to take hold again after stores began opening back up, another lockdown wouldn’t be out of the question.