19 Oct 2020
Coronavirus: Italy introduces new restrictions as infections rise again
Italy has introduced new restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 as the number of infections has risen again.
In the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, Italy was among the world's worst-hit nations until the outbreak showed a downward trend in June.
However, the nation reported its record single-day spike on Sunday, compelling authorities to tighten restrictions once again.
Here are more details.
'Must introduce curbs to avoid generalized lockdown'
In a televised address on Sunday evening, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that the new curbs were required to "avoid a new lockdown."
He said, "We cannot waste time, we must put in place measures to avoid a generalized lockdown, which could severely compromise the economy."
"The government is here but everyone has to do their part," Conte added.
Basic precautions remain most effective, says Conte
Conte added, "The most effective measures remain the basic precautions: mask, distance, and hand hygiene. We must pay attention to situations where we let our guard down—with relatives and friends. In these situations, the maximum precaution is required."
Bars, restaurants will close at midnight
Under the new restrictions, bars and restaurants will close at midnight, but table service will only be allowed until 6 pm. A maximum of six people will be allowed in a group.
Local conferences and festivals have been suspended. Amateur contact sports must also stop.
Gyms and swimming pools will have to adapt to new protocols within seven days.
New measures include staggered entry times for school
Mayors have been empowered to close public areas after 9 pm. Other measures introduced include restrictions on school timings. Distance learning will be encouraged for older students and entry times to schools for other pupils will be staggered.
Italy reports 4.14 lakh cases, over 36,500 dead
On Sunday, Italy reported the highest daily infection rate for the second consecutive day.
The nation reported 11,705 new cases on Sunday, beating the previous record of 10,925 new cases on Saturday.
Overall, the nation has reported 4.14 lakh cases. The death toll has reported over 36,500, the second-highest toll for any nation in Europe after the United Kingdom.
Amid second wave, other European nations also introduce curbs
Other nations in Europe have also reintroduced restrictions as the continent appears to witness a "second wave."
France—which saw a record spike on Saturday—has imposed fresh curbs in nine cities.
Belgium has closed all bars/restaurants for four weeks and imposed a curfew.
Ireland is expected to announce stricter restrictions on Monday.
Switzerland made face masks in indoor public spaces mandatory and banned large gatherings.