Italy announces new Covid measures after cases surpass 10,000 per day

19 October 2020, 08:45

New confirmed infections in Italy have doubled in a week to more than 10,000 a day amid increased testing
New confirmed infections in Italy have doubled in a week to more than 10,000 a day amid increased testing. Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

Italy has announced new Covid measures after cases doubled in a week to surpass 10,000 each day, amid increased testing.

Italian premier Giuseppe Conte announced new measures on Sunday, which stop short of a curfew like those imposed in Paris and other major French cities.

But Italian mayors can close public squares and other gathering places after 9pm, permitting access only to reach homes or businesses.

Restaurants and bars are restricted to table service only after 6pm, three hours earlier than the previous measures allowed, but can maintain the current midnight closing time.

Local festivals have been banned. Gyms and public swimming pools may remain open but Mr Conte said they would be closed in a week if they do not do a better job of following restrictions.

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Rome clashed with regional governments over schools, refusing to budge on allowing more distance learning.

But there are allowances for high schools to open later, and hold afternoon shifts, to ease pressure on local transport.

Authorities are loathed to see new lockdowns, after the 10-week closure that successfully impeded the virus's spread, but at a cost of 47 billion euros a month to the economy.

New confirmed infections in Italy have doubled in a week to more than 10,000 a day amid increased testing.

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After entire nations were shut down during the first surge of the coronavirus earlier this year, some countries and US states are trying more targeted measures as cases rise again, especially in Europe and the Americas.

New York's latest round of virus shutdowns zeroes in on individual neighbourhoods, closing schools and businesses in hotspots measuring just a couple of square miles.

Meanwhile, Spanish officials limited travel to and from some parts of Madrid before restrictions were widened throughout the capital and some suburbs.

Italian authorities have sometimes quarantined areas as small as a single building.When an apartment complex housing mostly Bulgarian migrant farm workers was locked down in late June in the Italian city of Mondragone, the workers protested, and about a dozen broke the quarantine.

Other residents of Mondragone feared infection would spread and, at one point, surrounded the buildings and jeered at the residents, one of whom tossed down a chair. Eventually, authorities called in the army to maintain the quarantine and keep the peace.

Read more: Andy Burnham blames Chancellor in Greater Manchester lockdown row