Italy, the epicenter of Europe’s first coronavirus outbreak, strikes to cease second surge

A supply individual passes close to St. Peter’s Basilica, as Italy tightens measures to try to comprise the unfold of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), in Rome, Italy.

Remo Casilli | Reuters

Italy introduced a raft of latest restrictive measures geared toward curbing a second wave of coronavirus instances.

From Monday, native mayors could have the ability to shut public areas, akin to squares and streets, after 9 p.m. with the intention to restrict public gatherings which have been seen as one of many fundamental causes for a brand new spike in coronavirus infections.

Announcing the brand new restrictions on Sunday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte mentioned that bars and eating places are allowed to remain open till midnight (however could be closed earlier if native leaders deem that obligatory) if there’s desk service, however should shut at 6 p.m. if not.  Social gatherings in bars and eating places are restricted to 6 folks per desk.

“We mustn’t waste time,” Conte mentioned as he introduced the brand new measures in a televised tackle. “The nation cannot permit one other lockdown that may severely compromise all the financial system.”

Other measures launched embody encouraging distance studying for older college students and staggered entry occasions to varsities for different pupils. Contact sports activities at an novice stage stay banned, and gymnasiums and leisure amenities must adapt to the brand new measures. Local festivals are banned too.

On Sunday, 11,705 new infections had been reported, up from 10,925 on Saturday and 10,010 the day earlier than that, government data shows. Italy has recorded 414,241 instances in whole, in keeping with Johns Hopkins University.

Conte mentioned Sunday the technique being adopted now to curb the unfold of infections “is not, and cannot be, the identical because the one applied in spring.|

Then, firstly of the pandemic, Conte mentioned, Italy hadn’t been ready with sufficient intensive care gear and masks, or in a position to do sufficient exams. Since then it had procured gear, produced and distributed tens of millions of masks amongst college students and carried out as much as 160,000 exams per day.

Italy was the epicenter of Europe’s preliminary coronavirus outbreak in February, with the primary clusters of instances seen in Lombardy, earlier than spreading to different areas in northern Italy and additional afield into the remainder of Europe.

Italy was the primary a part of Europe to introduce an area, then regional and at last a nationwide lockdown in early March to cease the unfold of the virus, which means that every one however meals retailers and pharmacies closed and folks might solely go away their properties for important causes.

Italy’s financial system has been hit arduous by the lockdown earlier this yr. The International Monetary Fund’s newest financial forecasts predict that Italy’s financial system will contract 10.6%  in 2020.  Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco mentioned in an interview with Bloomberg Friday that it’ll take no less than two years for the nation’s financial system to get again to pre-Covid ranges.

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