Italy tightens Wurbs crown but holds back from blockade
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Monday that Italy will tighten COVID restrictions but refrains from re-imposing a nationwide blockade in an attempt to respond to a wave of infections, hospitalizations and deaths.
Conte told parliament that stricter measures are now needed, including restrictions on travel between the hardest hit regions and a night curfew, given the resurgence of a “second wave” of the virus.
The daily number of infections in Italy has increased tenfold in the past month, setting a record of nearly 32,000 on Saturday, while employment in intensive care units has skyrocketed.
“Despite our efforts… the development of the epidemic in recent days is a serious concern,” Conte said, warning that ICUs will be overwhelmed in 15 of Italy’s 20 regions over the next month if not accepted. more severe actions.
“We need to take more stringent measures,” he told lawmakers, saying the country would be divided into three areas based on the level of risk, with some places facing stricter restrictions than others.
Risk levels will be set based on a series of 21 parameters, including the number of people with symptoms, the rate of infection and the availability of hospital beds, Conte said.
The health ministry said Monday the number of patients in the intensive care unit increased by more than 2,000, more than when Italy became fully nationwide during the first wave in the spring.
About 22,253 new infections were reported in the past 24 hours, up from nearly 30,000 the previous day, indicating a sharp decline in the number of smears performed. On Mondays, the incidence usually decreases and the ratio of test positives to total remains stable.
The daily death toll from COVID-19 rose to 233 from 208 a day earlier.
Italy, the first European country badly hit by the virus, has recorded over 38,000 deaths since the outbreak began in late February, the second-highest death toll on the continent after the UK.
The latest measures will be included in the government decree, which will be issued in the coming days. This is the fourth decree passed in less than a month, as Conte gradually ramped up his efforts to slow the epidemic, but without much success.
He did not elaborate on what measures will be taken in the hardest hit areas, but said the strictest restrictions across the country would include closing shopping malls on weekends and reducing the restriction on public transport capacity to 50% from 80%.
He also announced a nationwide night curfew, but did not say when it would take effect.
Gyms, cinemas and theaters are already closed throughout Italy, bars and restaurants must close at 6:00 pm, people must not host more than six guests, and masks are required outdoors and in public buildings.
Conte said he knew the damage the new restrictions would do to business as he recovered from the first Italian crisis between March and May, but staying healthy was the only way to help the economy in the medium term.
“The more effectively we reduce the spread of infection, the faster we can loosen restrictions and avoid an unsustainable deterioration in our economic and social fabric,” he said.