- Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte put all of Italy under a strict lockdown on Tuesday as the coronavirus outbreak in the country continued to gather pace.
- The country’s 60 million citizens now face restrictions on all aspects of life, including retail, leisure, religion, imprisonment, and travel.
- Some travel is allowed with police permission, and most shops and restaurants have limited opening hours.
- Major gatherings such as soccer matches and university classes are on hold until at least April 3.
- Almost all stores have been shut down, with an exception for grocery stores and pharmacies.
- Here are seven rules that Italians have been told to live by under the coronavirus lockdown.
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Italy entered its first day of a nationwide lockdown Tuesday after a dramatic uptick in the number of infections and deaths from the novel coronavirus.
The number of confirmed cases surpassed 9,100 and the death toll reached 463 on Monday night, making Italy the worst-hit country outside China in both cases and deaths.
Initially, only the northern region of Lombardy and 14 nearby provinces were included in the lockdown, which began Sunday. But Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has extended this nationwide.
Referring to the earlier lockdown in the north, he told reporters at a televised press conference on Monday that the whole country would be subject to the new measures. “There won’t be just a red zone,” he said. “There will be Italy.”
Here are all the rules that Italians now have to follow:
1. Don’t go out. Don’t socialise.
Conte described the quarantine policy simply as “I stay home,”according to the BBC.
Many places where people ordinarily gather in large numbers, such as large sporting events, schools, universities, and even mass have already been shut down.
Professional soccer matches have been cancelled and won’t restart until at least April 3, Sky News reported. But some high-level sports events and training can continue without audiences, The Guardian reported.
Gym subscriptions and prepaid cinema and concert tickets have now been rendered useless as most nonessential socialising is forbidden, The New York Times reported.
Museums, cultural centres, swimming pools, spas, sports halls, and ski resorts across the country have also been shut, according to The Guardian.
2. All shops except grocery stores and pharmacies must stay closed.
Initially, shops were allowed to operate until 6 p.m. as long as they could be sure that customers will be distanced by 1 metre, or 3.2 feet, Sky News reported.
However on Wednesday, Conte announced that only pharmacies and grocery stores may open to the public.
Cafes, which must shut by 6pm, are patrolled by police to ensure people are staying 3.2 feet apart, according to Associated Press.
3. Italians who want to travel must get police permission.
Public transport and airports are continuing to operate, but only essential travel is allowed, the BBC reported.
Permissible travel – including flights – includes a valid work- or family-related reason that cannot otherwise be postponed.
According to Sky News, train travellers must sign police forms attesting to their reasons, and cars are being stopped for police checks.
4. People accompanying others to the hospital emergency room can no longer wait with them.
They will now need permission to stay in the waiting room with anyone who is visiting hospital emergency departments, Sky News reported.
5. Healthcare workers have to cancel their vacations.
Doctors, nurses, and other medical workers have been told to cancel their leave to help fight the influx of coronavirus patients.
This mirrors China sending thousands of medical workers into Hubei, the province where the outbreak started, to help fight the disease.
6. People with loved ones in jail are either barred from visiting them or have limited time to do so.
Italy has also limited or suspended prisoners’ ability to have family visits.
Riots broke out in prisons as prisoners reacted to the news. Unrest began at jails in Modena, Pavia, Rome, and Foggia, with some prisoners attempting to escape and others setting fires.
Alessio Scandurra, a spokesman for the prisoners’ rights organisation Antigone Association, told the Associated Press the unrest was due to frustration over the limited visits as well as anxiety over potential coronavirus infection in confinement.
7. Mortgage repayments have been suspended.
Banks have imposed a moratorium on mortgage repayments, Reuters reported.
The Italian Banking Association, which represents 90% of banking assets in Italy, said lenders would allow the pause in payments to help companies and households disrupted by the virus and the quarantine.
- Read more:
- Italy enters its first day of a nationwide coronavirus lockdown as it becomes the worst-hit country outside China
- Italy’s coronavirus death toll rose by nearly 60% in a day as the country put 16 million people on lockdown
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