Italy extends emergency measures nationwide as coronavirus cases surge

Italy extends emergency measures nationwide as coronavirus cases surge
All of Italy placed under coronavirus lockdown. Source: EPA
5 Min Read

Daily US Times, Milan: Italy, the worst affected country from the coronavirus outside of China, has extended its emergency measures to control the virus, which include travel restrictions and a ban on public gatherings, to the entire country.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte described the situation as ”Italy’s darkest moments” as he ordered people to stay home and seek permission for essential travel.

In a TV address, the prime minister said emergency measures were designed to protect the most vulnerable. “There is no more time,” he said.

Italy’s coronavirus death toll jumped from 366 to 463 on Monday, making it the worst-hit country after China. Official data shows the number of confirmed infections also increased by 24% from Sunday.

The coronavirus cases have been reported at least 20 Italian regions.

What did Conte say?

“We’re having an important growth in infection… and of deaths,” he said in an evening address and suggested people that the best thing is to stay at home.

“The whole of Italy will become a protected zone,” he added.

“We all must give something up for the good of Italy. We have to do it now.

“This is why I decided to adopt even more strong and severe measures to contain the advance… and protect the health of all citizens.”

In an earlier interview with La Repubblica newspaper, the prime minister said he has been thinking about the old speeches of Winston Churchill – ”it is our darkest hour, but we will make it”.

What are the restrictions?

“No more nightlife”, said Mr Conte, ”We can’t allow this anymore since they are occasions for contagion.”

All schools and universities will remain closed until 3 April as well as all sporting events – including football matches – are suspended nationwide.

The government said only those with a family reason and valid work that can not be postponed will be allowed to travel.

Passengers who are departing on flights will have to justify themselves, the same thing goes to the arriving passengers.

Cruise ships are forbidden to dock at various ports and there are controls at train stations to check the temperatures of passengers.

How people have reacted?

Italy’s prison authorities said protests have broken out in 27 jails against restrictions imposed to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.

The trouble began in the northern city of Modena after inmates were told that visits were being suspended.

Local media reported at least six death there, some are drug-related.

About 20 prisoners broke out of prison in Foggia in the south, along with another 32 who were quickly recaptured.

A British man who lives in Matera, southern Italy, described the situation as ‘unnerving’.

The city mayor ordered to shut down all entertainment venues, like concert halls and wedding venues, and many professional offices and studios are closing their doors.

Restaurants also put rules on the door which says customers have to wash your hands, stand a meter away from each other and you cannot make physical contact.

“There’s a lot of tension. It’s all very unnerving,” said the British man.

British Airways has suspended more flights to Northern Italy, the hot zone of the virus. They took the decision after the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) changed its travel advice for the north of the country, advising against all but essential travel to areas affected by coronavirus.

Flights to and from Milan Malpensa, Bergamot, Venice and Milan Linate are suspended until at least 3 April.

What is the latest global situation?

The number of infections worldwide is now more than 111,000, with about 3,890 deaths.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that everyone arriving in Israel will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Iran, another severely affected country has reported 43 new deaths related to the disease in the past 24 hours. At least 237 people have died and 7,161 have been infected across the country since mid-February, although the real figures are believed to be far higher.

China has recorded the lowest numbers of cases in recent times. Although this indicates that the spread there is slowing, senior officials warned against reducing vigilance.

An elderly male patient died in Vancouver from the virus. This is the first death case in Canada.

In France, Culture Minister Franck Riester has become the first member of the government to be infected with the virus.

The number of confirmed cases in the country now exceeds 500.

Italy placed emergency measures nationwide