ROME (AP) – Four Italian territories are being held under a “red-zone” lockdown, with serious restrictions on the circumstances under which people can leave their homes, Premier Giuseppe Conte announced Wednesday night.
What he called “very strict” sanctions were imposed on Friday in the north for Lombardy, Piedmont and Valle de Osta and for Calabria, which forms the southern toe of the Italian peninsula.
The purpose of the downfall was to increase COVID-19 infections and prevent hospitals from overflowing with cases. It will last at least two weeks, covering 16.5 million of Italy’s 60 million inhabitants and will include Milan, the country’s economic capital.
With very few exceptions, no one can leave or enter the “red zone” territories. People must stay at home except for going to work or shopping for necessities. They can also exercise near their homes and while wearing masks.
After days of consultations with regional governors, Health Minister Roberto Spiranza decided which region had received the “red-zone” designation.
“I know these choices will mean sacrifices and hardships, but that (transition) is the only way to turn the tide,” he said in a statement. “United, we can do that.”
Barber shops and hair salons may remain open, although other non-essential “red zone” shops must be closed.
Less restrictions on movement were imposed for southern Sicily and Puglia, where people would be able to leave their homes, but not travel between towns or regions, and cafes and rest restaurants could only rent and deliver.
Classrooms are open in the rest of Italy except for high schools, which will still have class-instruction in the “red zone”, only in the first year of nursery, elementary and middle-school.
The latest crash was scheduled to begin on Thursday, but Conte said it would start on Friday instead of allowing time to adjust. Designations will be reviewed every two weeks.
He added that nationwide measures such as the earlier museum closure and overnight curfew would also start a day later on Friday and last till December 3.
Conte promised that his central-left government would allow more funding to help businesses with disabilities with the latest shutdown later this week.
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