Italy Considering Tightest Restrictions Since National Lockdown

Italy is considering the tightest restrictions on nonessential activities since its national lockdown in a bid to contain a jump in new coronavirus cases, which topped 10,000 for the first time on Friday.

Health Minister Roberto Speranza met with regional leaders Saturday morning to discuss the measures that are expected to be approved by Giuseppe Conte’s government as early as Saturday evening, according to three government officials, who asked not to be named in line with their policy.

Speranza said businesses that come under the ban will receive some compensation, according to one of the officials. Conte’s plan is aimed at avoiding a new lockdown and reducing the potential economic impact, the officials said.

The government may also order bars and restaurants to close at 10 p.m., banning some sporting activities and changing hours for high schools to prevent congestion.

Conte has repeatedly ruled out fully shutting the country down again, after a three-month lockdown in the spring brought Italy’s already fragile economy to its knees. The Lombardy region already approved new restrictions Friday night.

The resurgence in Italy, Europe’s original epicenter for the virus, is following the paths of France or Spain, as the outbreak has been accelerating in recent days. New cases jumped to 10,010 on Friday, the most in one day since the outbreak began in February, from 8,804 Thursday.

At the Vatican, a resident at the Saint Martha hotel for the clergy where Pope Francis lives tested positive for the coronavirus, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said Saturday. The person has left the residence and has been placed in isolation, he said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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