The whole of Italy is being put on lockdown in a bid to try and stop the spread of coronavirus. A ban on public gatherings will now extend to the entire country while cinemas, theatres, gyms and pubs will be closed. Funerals and weddings will not take place while schools and universities will remain closed until April 3. People have been advised to remain at home and movement is severely restricted except for work and emergency reasons. Those who want to travel outside the areas where they live will have to demonstrate a valid reason. The new measures will take effect from tomorrow morning.
Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte said public transport will remain open. ‘There won’t be just a red zone,’ he told reporters, referring to a lockdown of areas in northern Italy instituted over the weekend. ‘There will be Italy’ as a protected area, he said. It comes as Italy recorded a jump in the number of coronavirus deaths of almost 100 in a day, from 366 yesterday to 463 today.
The total number of cases in Italy has gone up to 9,172 from 7,375 meaning the nation now has the largest amount of infected people outside of China. Some 733 people were in intensive care against a previous 650. Today streets in Milan, Italy’s financial centre, were unseasonably quiet. Check points were set up at the city’s main train station to screen travelers. People at Milan Central Station were being required to sign a police form, self-certifying they were traveling either for ‘proven work needs,’ situations of necessity, health reasons or to return to their homes. The mayor of the city of Bergamo, Giorgio Gori, told RAI state television: ‘Until a few days ago, the thinking was the alarm would pass in some weeks, we just need to follow the rules. Now, we need to explain to citizens that the situation is very, very serious, our hospitals are at the point of collapse.’ People circulating in Milan and also in the provinces beyond were subjected to spot checks to ensure they had valid reasons for being out. Violators risked up to three months jail or fines of 206 euros.