Tighter lockdown measures come into force in Italy

Tighter lockdown measures come into force in Italy

Agency News

Rome, Mar 22: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte signed a new decree that came into effect on Monday, which will close down all non-essential production across the country.

Italy, one of the worst-affected countries in Europe due to the Novel Coronavirus pandemic, has been in a virtual lockdown for about a fortnight. The country has, so far, allowed some of the factories to continue functioning.

But, they have been told now that they have just three days to prepare for a complete lockdown by March 25. Supermarkets, pharmacies, food stores, banks, post offices and transport services will, however, be allowed to function normally.

The number of public offices that will be allowed to function will also be drastically reduced, with the exception of services related to health, defence, social security and distance education.

The decree includes a list of 80 sectors that will remain open, including professional services by attorneys, accountants, engineers and architects; call centres; newsstands, the press and media; tobacconists, with the exception of the national lottery, which has been suspended; live-in domestic help and building doorkeepers; as well as all services related to the production and supply of food, medicine and transport of essential goods.

Labour unions have threatened a general strike, if too many factories remain open.

Too many people are still out, despite an intensification of the regional and national governments' lockdown rules, Lombardy Governor Attilio Fontana said on Monday.

People have been banned from leaving their homes and can only walk the dog or jog around the block, as well as travelling for health, food and other essential purposes.

"I hope the more rigorous norms can be applied because there are still too many people out and about and too many reasons and possibilities of contagion," Mr Fontana told ANSA. (UNI)