Covid-19: Italian province goes into 14-day local ‘lockdown’ after spike in cases

Covid-19: Italian province goes into 14-day local 'lockdown' after spike in cases
Restaurants and bars will face new restrictions in Latina, Lazio, from Friday. File photo: AFP
The province of Latina near Rome will be under special restrictions for 14 days from midnight on Thursday as the number of new cases in the area continues to rise sharply.
The province of Latina, south of the capital, has become the first part of Italy to be put under special measures since Italy began to ease its general lockdown  back in May.
Lazio’s regional president Nicola Zingaretti signed a local ordinance ordering a 14-day lockdown for the province after numbers rose sharply again locally, health authorities announced on Thursday evening.
“Taking into account the 155% increase in cases recorded since October 4th, the President’s ordinance was signed today which, for two consecutive weeks, starting from the date of publication, orders the following further measures relating to the territory of the Province of Latina,” the Lazio regional Covid-19 crisis unit said in a statement.
The measures include:
  •  A midnight curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants at midnight
  • No more than 4 people per table at restaurants
  • A limit of 20 people at parties and religious ceremonies 
  • A ban on visitors at hospitals and care homes
  • A recommendation for people to work remotely as much as possible.
While Italian media referred to the measures as a “mini lockdown”, there was no mention of a ban on travel to or from the province, or any requirement to fill out a form when leaving the house, as was the case during the height of Italy’s national shutdown.
The measures go into force from midnight.
Latina recorded 359 new cases on Thursday, while there were 144 in the city of Rome.
Italy recorded almost 4,500 new cases in total over the past 24 hours.
While italy’s prime minister said this week he does not “see a new national lockdown on the horizon”, local measures are widely expected to be enforced in various parts of Italy in the coming weeks in response to sharp spikes in cases in many regions.
Italian regional authorities can declare “red zones” or enforce local lockdowns under special powers granted due to the country’s state of emergency, which was extended on Wednesday and will now stay in place until January 21st, 2021 – a year since it was first introduced.
An update to existing emergency measures, which comes into force on Thursday, makes wearing a mask obligatory whenever you leave your home, at all times of the day and in all parts of the country.
The government has also raised the fines for refusing to wear a mask to between €400 and €1,000, with police patrols deployed to check that people are complying. Until now the maximum penalty was €400, though some regions had introduced higher fines locally.
Italy’s government was also expected to sign off on a wider range of new rules on Wednesday under a new emergency decree, but that has now been postponed and current rules will stay in place until October 15th.
You can follow all of The Local’s latest updates on the coronavirus situation in Italy here.

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