Italy to tighten COVID curbs, but holds back from lockdown

By Angelo Amante and Gavin Jones ROME (Reuters) - Italy will tighten COVID restrictions but is holding back from re-introducing a nationwide lockdown, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Monday, seeking to respond to a surge infections, hospital admissions and deaths. Conte told parliament tougher measures, including limiting travel between the worst-hit regions and a nighttime curfew, were now needed given the 'second wave' resurgence of the virus.

Reuters November 03, 2020 00:10:37 IST
Italy to tighten COVID curbs, but holds back from lockdown

Italy to tighten COVID curbs but holds back from lockdown

By Angelo Amante and Gavin Jones

ROME (Reuters) - Italy will tighten COVID restrictions but is holding back from re-introducing a nationwide lockdown, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Monday, seeking to respond to a surge infections, hospital admissions and deaths.

Conte told parliament tougher measures, including limiting travel between the worst-hit regions and a nighttime curfew, were now needed given the "second wave" resurgence of the virus.

Italy's daily tally of infections has increased 10-fold over the last month, setting a record of almost 32,000 on Saturday, while intensive care occupancy has also risen sharply.

"Despite our efforts ... the evolution of the epidemic in the last few days is very worrying," Conte said, warning that intensive care units would be overwhelmed in 15 of Italy's 20 regions by next month unless tougher action was taken.

"We must intervene with more stringent measures," he told lawmakers, saying the country would be divided into three areas depending on the risk level, with certain places facing tighter restrictions than others.

Risk levels would be set according to a set of 21 parameters including the number of people with symptoms, infection rates and availability of hospital beds, Conte said.

Intensive care patients rose above 2,000 on Monday, the health ministry reported, more than when Italy went into full nationwide lockdown during its first wave in the spring.

Some 22,253 new infections were registered over the last 24 hours, down from almost 30,000 the day before, reflecting a steep drop in the number of swabs conducted. Cases normally drop on Mondays, and the ratio of positive tests to total tests remained stable.

The daily death toll from COVID-19 rose to 233, compared with 208 the day before.

Italy, the first European country to be hit hard by the virus, has recorded more than 38,000 deaths since the outbreak first emerged in late February, the second highest toll in the continent after Britain.

The latest measures will be included in a government decree to be issued in the next few days, the fourth such decree adopted in less than a month as Conte has progressively ramped up efforts to slow the epidemic, with little success.

He did not spell out which measures will be imposed on the worst affected areas, but said stronger nationwide restrictions would include the closure of shopping centres at weekends and reducing the capacity limit on public transport to 50% from 80%.

He also announced a nationwide night curfew but did not say when it would take effect.

Gyms, cinemas and theatres are already shut all over Italy, bars and restaurants must close at 6 p.m., people must not host more than six guests in their homes and masks are obligatory outdoors and in public buildings.

Conte said he knew what damage the new curbs would cause to business activity just as it was recovering from Italy's first lockdown between March and May, but safeguarding health was the only way to help the economy in the medium term.

"The more effective we are in reducing contagion, the faster we will be able to ease restrictions and avoid an unsustainable deterioration of our economic and social fabric," he said.

(Editing by Nick Macfie and Crispian Balmer)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Wall Street climbs on Cisco, Disney's upbeat results
Business

Wall Street climbs on Cisco, Disney's upbeat results

By Medha Singh and Shivani Kumaresan (Reuters) - Wall Street gained on Friday as Disney and Cisco's upbeat results brought the focus back to corporate earnings at the end of a volatile trading week that saw record surges in coronavirus cases and increased hopes of a working vaccine.

Gold jumps 1% on mounting pandemic, vaccine worries
Business

Gold jumps 1% on mounting pandemic, vaccine worries

By Sumita Layek (Reuters) - Gold gained as much as 1.1% on Friday as rising global coronavirus infections re-ignited concerns about the economic toll from the pandemic, while scepticism over the reach of a potential COVID-19 vaccine further boosted the safe-haven metal. Spot gold rose 0.8% to $1,890.81 per ounce by 11:33 a.m