Italian premier Giuseppe Conte has put his entire country on lock down to combat the Corona-virus, banning all but the most important travel and halting social gatherings after Italians failed to take previous warnings to heart amid skyrocketing infections.
Two days after imposing the same strict measures on a quarter of the country, in the hard-hit north, PM Conte urged all 60 million Italians to stay home. The civil protection agency has emphasized that commercial freight is not affected by the crackdown.
For travelers and commuters, procedures at Milan’s main station were tightened significantly. Police officers in masks backed by pairs of masked armed soldiers checked tickets and documents of people arriving and departing.
The only travel allowed will be for proven work reasons, health conditions or other cases of necessity. Our habits must be changed, changed now. We all have to give up something for the good of Italy. When I speak of Italy, I speak of our dear ones, of our grandparents and of our parents.
The nationwide restrictions take effect on Tuesday until April 3 and include extending the closures of schools and universities and closing bars, restaurants and cafes at dusk. Later the whole country will go on lock down, except for supermarkets and pharmacies.
Italy registered 1,807 more confirmed cases as of Monday evening, for a national total of 9,172. The number of dead in Italy increased by 97 to 463 — most of them elderly people with previous ailments.
Despite registering the largest number of cases outside of China, Italy has seen only superficial compliance with measures aimed at reducing social contact, including closing cinemas and theaters and banning fans from football games. The government gradually expand the so-called red zones.
Restrictions on movement initially applied to 11 towns in northern Italy with a total population of around 50,000 people before being expanded on Sunday to all of Lombardy and 14 provinces in the neighboring regions of Veneto, Piedmont and Emilia Romagna.
Streets in Milan, Italy’s financial hub and the main city in Lombardy, were unseasonably quiet. For the first time, checkpoints were set up at the city’s main railway station to screen travelers. People at Milan Central Station were required to sign a police form, self-certifying why they were traveling.
People circulating inside the city and in the provinces 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.
Earlier on Monday, civil protection authorities shut down all ski areas nationwide after one tried to tempt children who are locked out of school to the slopes. That signaled an end to patience with the sort of wheeling-and-dealing that is often admired in Italy.
The regions affected by the decree are among the most productive in Italy. Industry leaders worried about a perception being created abroad that all business was shut down and commercial deliveries of exports could not be made.
Yahoo / ABC Flash Point News 2020.