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Italy quarantines quarter of its population to fight coronavirus


The Italian government has locked down almost 1 / 4 of the country's population, living across five regions within the north, within the most drastic measure taken by a ecu nation to stop the spread of the new coronavirus.

The lockdown, which can limit the movement of quite 16 million people, will remain in situ until April 3.

A decree by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte's office said the extraordinary steps will affect people living within the Lombardy region and 14 neighbouring provinces, including the financial hub of Milan and therefore the tourist hotspot of Venice.

"For Lombardy and for the opposite northern provinces that i've got listed, there'll be a ban for everyone to maneuver in and out of those territories and also within the identical territory," Conte told a conference within the hours of Sunday after marathon discussions with officials.

"Exceptions are allowed just for proven professional needs, exceptional cases and health issues," he said.

Meanwhile, people that are currently outside the areas under lockdown are allowed to return home.

The moves were announced as Italy was hit by its biggest daily increase in coronavirus cases since the beginning of the outbreak within the country's north on February 21.

In its daily update, Italy's civil protection agency said on Saturday that the quantity of infected people had risen by 1,247, bringing the overall to five,883, while the cost jumped to 233 following the deaths of another 36 people.

Worldwide, the virus that was first detected in China late last year has spread to quite 90 countries and infected over 100,000 people, causing quite 3,500 deaths, per the planet Health Organization.

Italy's move echoes measures introduced by China, where about 500 million people were suffering from policies limiting movement. The Chinese government's measures seem to be working because the country has recently been reporting a declining number of infections daily, including fewer cases compared to other countries, including Italy.

Speaking to reporters, Conte stressed that the quarantine wasn't an "absolute ban" but rather a "reduced mobility", adding, however, that authorities would be allowed to prevent and questions citizens about their movements.

According to the decree, gyms, swimming pools, spa and wonder centres will remain closed, as will museums, cinemas and clubs. Events publically or private spaces have also been banned, while religious ceremonies including weddings and funerals are suspended.

But bars and restaurants are allowed to remain open from 6am to 6pm as long as they will guarantee that clients are a minimum of one metre (3.28 feet) apart.

Penalties for violators range from a fine of up to 206 euros ($232.50) to a few months in jail.

Italy has already introduced a series of preventive measures across the country, including the closure of all schools and universities, and a ban on spectators attending sports events held indoors.

"We will make it," Conte said, invoking Italians' responsibility to prevent the spread of the virus by urging youth to remain home to preserve their grandparents' health.

The elderly are considered the foremost in danger of dying from the virus, together with people that have existing health conditions.

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