Italy Readies National Curfew, Movement Bans for Risk Areas
(Bloomberg) -- Italy is poised to ban people from leaving or entering cities and towns in high-risk areas, likely including the financial capital Milan, as part of the government’s latest attempt to check the rapid spread of the coronavirus.
A 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew will also be imposed across the country, according to a draft decree seen by Bloomberg. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte signed off on the new restrictions overnight, said a government official, who asked not to be identified in line with policy.
Italians in the highest-risk zones will be told to stay within their city or town and will be allowed to leave only for specific business or health reasons, according to the draft. Provisions are subject to change as the government discusses details.
Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala said that he expects the city and the surrounding Lombardy region to be among areas declared high-risk zones. “They are certainly going to be severe measures,” Sala said in a Facebook post.
The newest measures would come into force on Thursday and last until Dec. 3, the decree stipulates. Stores deemed to be non-essential, as well as bars and restaurants, would be closed in high-risk zones. Pharmacies and all shops selling food would remain open. Hairdressers and beauty centers would also stay open, newspaper Corriere della Sera reported.
The government would also halt cruises by passenger ships under the Italian flag and all school classes above sixth-grade level would move online in high-risk areas, along with high schools in the rest of the country, according to the draft.
Conte, who’s fought to avoid a national lockdown in a bid to spare the country’s fragile economy, is drawing up the curbs as Italy registered 28,244 new virus cases Tuesday. The country reported 353 deaths from the virus, the most since early May, and patients in intensive care units surged by 203 to 2,225, the biggest jump since March.
To mitigate the impact of the latest restrictions, the government is readying new relief funding for businesses of at least 1.5 billion euros ($1.75 billion), people familiar with the matter said Tuesday.
National and regional authorities are still debating which areas should be deemed as high-risk zones. The focus has been on Lombardy, the Piedmont region and its capital Turin, and Calabria to the south.
In a letter to Conte, regional governors led by Stefano Bonaccini of Emilia-Romagna demanded nationwide measures and expressed “strong perplexity and concern” over a decree which they said gives too much power to the prime minister, according to the text seen by Bloomberg.
They also urged that tax payments be suspended for businesses hit by the pandemic for this year and 2021.
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