Italy to close cinemas, theaters as Covid cases soar

Rome, Oct 25 (efe-epa).- With almost 20,000 cases per day and more than 1,000 people in increasingly strained intensive care units, the Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte on Sunday announced a raft of new restrictions including the early closure of bars and restaurants.

From Monday, bars and restaurants in Italy will be obliged to close their doors to customers at 6 pm while theaters and cinemas will have to close altogether.

Conte said the action was being taken to avoid another national lockdown.

“We are not introducing a curfew,” Conte added.

The prime minister urged citizens to avoid all but essential travel and to refrain from mixing with the other households.

He said that the new restrictions would help the country face the second wave of Covid-19 and be better prepared for the coming months, including the Christmas period.

Gyms and swimming pools will also have to temporarily close down, Conte said.

The country’s infection rate has rebounded to around R1.5 (meaning one person can infect 1.5 others on average) and on Saturday health officials detected a record surge in daily cases, which makes tracking and tracing the virus more complicated.

The action from the government came after hours of negotiations with regional leaders and emergency measures will be in place until at least 24 November.

Some 12,415 people are receiving hospital treatment across the country — 817 more than reported Friday, and 1,128 are in ICU.

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