Most of Italy under lockdown again as cases surge

Rome, Mar 15 (efe-epa).- Almost a year after the first nationwide coronavirus shutdown was announced in Italy, most of the country is again under strict lockdown from Monday until at least April 7, after Easter.

People are only allowed to leave home for essential reasons or for work, while 80 percent of students must do remote online learning. All non-essential activities have been closed, including hairdressing salons, while bars and restaurants can only provide take-away food.

The measures affect about 42 million people in 10 regions as well as the province of Trento, all of which are in the “red zone”, which indicates the highest level of restrictions to stem the spread of Covid-19.

The latest order from the government of Mario Draghi means regions with a weekly incidence of at least 250 infections per 100,000 people will be placed on the highest possible alert level.

From Monday, Lombardy, Piedmont, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Veneto, Marche, Campania, Apulia, Molise and Lazio, whose capital is Rome, as well as the autonomous province of Trento, will be placed in the red zone, while the rest of the country is in the orange zone, which also entails significant restrictions.

In cities like Rome, new checkpoints have been installed at various points of the city which on Monday was almost deserted.

The lockdown will be extended to the entire country on April 3, 4 and 5 during the Easter holidays, when travel will be restricted to two people allowed to visit another household to meet with relatives.

The tougher measures come amid a full blown third wave of infections. From March 8 to 14, 155,934 new positive cases were reported, more than 13,000 more than the previous seven days. Hospital admissions and the number of ICU patients have also spiked. EFE-EPA


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