Roundup: fresh measures in Italy and UK, Austrian minister tests positive

Madrid Desk, Oct 17 (efe-epa).- Regional restrictions were imposed in Italy and the United Kingdom on Saturday while Austria’s foreign minister went into isolation after testing positive for Covid-19.

Elsewhere in Europe, Portugal prepared to build field hospitals to alleviate the strain on health services while infection rates continued to soar in the Czech Republic.

ITALYThe northern region of Lombardy, Italy’s epicenter of infection, has limited the opening hours for bars and restaurants and the central government is considering similar measures for the rest of the country.

National restrictions imposed earlier this week made masks mandatory in outdoor public areas, banned contact sports and forced premises to close at midnight.

There has been a spike in contagion in the country which has coincided with a boost in screening, with more than 10,000 cases detected on Thursday and 150,000 tests carried out.

Lombardy has also implemented extra measures as it struggles to contain rising cases in its capital Milan with secondary schools and universities switching to online lessons where possible.

The Campania region in the south imposed new restrictions this week including closing schools until 30 October and imposing a curfew on 31 October to prevent Halloween celebrations.

UNITED KINGDOMMore than half of England’s population, around 28 million people, were put under fresh restrictions including London and the county of Lancashire.

Social gatherings are banned and bars that do not serve food are closed.

Local authorities in Manchester have refused to comply with recommendations from the national government to impose these extra measures.

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