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Italy tightens coronavirus measures in several regions

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Stricter controls are expected to be implemented in several Italian regions from Wednesday as the country strives to bring the coronavirus pandemic under control.

Abruzzo, Basilicata, Liguria, Tuscany and Umbria are to be reclassified as “orange” rather than “yellow” zones and thus be subject to stricter rules.

In particular, it will be forbidden to enter and leave these “orange” regions, but also to travel between cities within these regions – except to go to work or to medical appointments. Bars and restaurants will also be closed, except for home delivery and take-away services.

The measures were announced by several local leaders, including the president of Abruzzo, Marco Marsilio, who said he had received the information from health minister Roberto Speranza. The latter has made no official comment, but he is expected to issue a decree on Tuesday, valid from Wednesday, which could also include part of Campania, a region in south-western Italy of which Naples is the capital.

There have been talks of reclassifying Campania as a “red” region, which implies containment. This stricter measure is already applied in Lombardy, Piedmont, Valle d’Aosta and Calabria.

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The Ansa press agency announced that Speranza would also place South Tyrol in the “red” zone, but this would not change much in practice, because the autonomous territory has already been in confinement since Monday by its own decision.

The Italian government has divided the country into three zones: “red”, “orange” and “yellow”. The “orange” category currently includes only Sicily and Puglia. The “yellow” regions, which are relatively less infected, only have to comply with national measures. They have therefore introduced curfews, closure of museums and distance learning for high schools and universities.

The government adopted a differentiated regime to avoid a nationwide containment, which would have caused much damage to the economy. However, there are doubts about the effectiveness of this strategy.

Italy recorded 25,271 new infections on Monday, compared with a peak of nearly 40,000 on Saturday. However, the figures tend to be lower on Monday due to fewer tests being carried out at the weekend. The daily death toll was 356, 25 more than on Sunday. The number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care now stands at 2,849, an increase of 41% over the previous week.

The Brussels Times