Italians love freedom too, Italian president says in reply to British premier

Italian President Sergio Mattarella said on Thursday that the Italian people cherish freedom as much as any other nation after British PM Boris Johnson recently put the UK's rising COVID-19 infection rates down to the country's superior love of liberty.

"We Italians love freedom too," Mattarella told reporters during a visit to the Sardinian city of Sassari when asked about Johnson's comments, ANSA reported. "But seriousness is dear to us as well".

When asked in parliament on Tuesday why Germany and Italy were doing better at containing the virus, Johnson said: "there is an important difference between our country and many other countries around the world: our country is a freedom-loving country. "If we look at the history of this country over the past 300 years, virtually every advance, from free speech to democracy, has come from this country," he continued.

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