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Italian gov’t toughens coronavirus lockdown

Italian gov’t toughens coronavirus lockdown

Italians are facing severe controls with traffic much quieter than usual in major cities, many shops and restaurants already closed and only a few flights operating.
12.03.2020 - 11:11

Italy added new restrictions on Wednesday to a lockdown imposed to fight the coronavirus, ordering bars, restaurants and beauty parlors to close after the highest daily increase in deaths of any country since the outbreak began.


In a televised address to the nation, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said all shops would be shuttered except supermarkets, food stores and chemists, and companies must close all non-essential departments.

“We will only be able to see the effects of this great effort in a couple of weeks,” he said, referring to the daily bulletins announcing the number of new cases and fatalities.

On Wednesday the death toll in Europe’s worst affected country jumped by 196 in 24 hours to 827. Confirmed cases across Italy rose to 12,462 from a previous 10,149.

Company canteens can remain open if they are able to guarantee a distance of at least 1 meter (3 feet) between customers.

The latest measures will take effect from Thursday and run until March 25, the prime minister’s office said. “The country needs responsibility from all of us, the responsibility of 60 million Italians that are making small and large sacrifices every day,” Conte said.

Under the latest measures, trains and urban public transport will remain open, as will services considered essential such as plumbers, mechanics and petrol stations.