Italy Considers National Curfew With Government Still Divided
(Bloomberg) -- Italy’s government is opting for targeted regional restrictions amid the latest surge in Covid-19 cases, in a bid to avoid a new nationwide lockdown.
Regions with the highest transmission levels will be subject to tougher curbs under a new three-tiered system, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Monday. These will come on top of new nationwide measures including a night-time curfew.
Conte acknowledged during an address to parliament that “the national transmission index Rt is 1.7, in some areas it’s worse.” Hospitals in 15 of the country’s 20 regions could reach a critical situation next month, the premier said.
The newest plan includes shutting down museums across the country and closing shopping malls on weekends. The government will also impose movement restrictions to and from the hardest hit regions.
The full package of new measures could be announced as early as Monday, according to people familiar with the debate who asked not to be named discussing confidential deliberations. The ruling majority is still divided, with some members asking for more stringent curbs like closing all bars and restaurants across the nation, they said
Conte is trying to spare Italy from another full lockdown, after last spring’s shutdown brought an already shaky economy to its knees. Other European leaders adopted a similar approach to stem the pandemic’s spread, with varying results.
The rapid acceleration of the outbreak forced U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson to scrap a regionally based system and impose a partial lockdown for the whole nation starting Thursday. In Spain, the prime minister declared a state of emergency and imposed a national night-time curfew, with region governments allowed to impose lockdowns and mobility restrictions.
New cases in Italy declined for the first time in six days on Sunday, with 29,907 new infections compared with a record 31,758 on Saturday. Testing was slower on the weekend as usual, and there were 16 positive results for every 100 tests.
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