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Italy tightens lockdown after coronavirus toll soars


Italy tightened its coronavirus quarantine on Wednesday, ordering bars, restaurants and hairdressing and wonder salons to shut, after the best daily increase in deaths of any country outside China since the outbreak began.
In a televised address to the state, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said all shops would be closed apart from supermarkets, food stores and chemists and corporations must close all non-essential departments.
"Thank you to any or all Italians who make sacrifices. We are proving to be a good nation," Conte said within the nine-minute broadcast.

"We will only be ready to see the consequences of this great effort in an exceedingly number of weeks," he said, bearing on the daily bulletins announcing the amount of latest cases and fatalities.

On Wednesday the toll in Europe's worst-affected country jumped by 196 in 24 hours to 827. Confirmed cases across the country rose to 12,462 from a previous 10,149.

The latest measures will go from Thursday and remain in situ until quarter day, the prime minister's office said.

"The country needs responsibility from all people, the responsibility of 60 million Italians that are making small and enormous sacrifices daily," Conte said.

Sombre address
His sombre address echoed the words Conte used just two days ago when he widened a quarantine within the worst-hit northern regions to the entire of the country, banning all non-essential travel and public gatherings until April 3, halting sports events and increasing a shutdown of faculties.

The existing restrictions on public gatherings and travel had already emptied streets amid the forced closure of faculties, universities and museums. Many other businesses had also shut.

Cathedrals posted hand-written notes cancelling mass and cafes apologised to their regulars for having to show them away.

The central streets of Rome were deserted on Wednesday evening and buses that are usually filled with commuters ran almost empty.

"I can't even recognise Rome now," 30-year-old Muscovite Yekaterina said while posing alone for a photograph by the usually bustling Trevi Fountain within the heart of Rome.

Under the newest measures, trains and concrete conveyance will still operate, as will essential services like plumbers, mechanics and petrol stations.

Such measures are taking an important toll on Italy's economy and Conte announced earlier put aside 25 billion euros ($28.3bn) to support firms and families and soften the effect of the virus.

Elderly people are particularly vulnerable to the virus and Italy has the oldest population in Europe with nearly 1 / 4 of individuals aged 65 or over.

Most Italians appear to be respecting the foremost severe controls placed on any Western nation since warfare II.

An public opinion poll by the Ixe agency showed 89 percent of Italians backed their authorities' draconian measures, with 78 percent saying they'd support even tougher steps.

People are told to stay a minimum of a metre (three feet) from one another and handshakes are frowned upon. Italians have found themselves setting out to discuss with one another some steps apart - while often laughing about the regulations along the way.

"As soon because the emergency has passed, we are going to organise a free carbonara day for doctors, nurses and healthcare workers," a closing note by a restaurant in Rome's popular Trastevere neighbourhood said.


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