UPDATE: Italy tightens Covid restrictions further with new emergency decree

UPDATE: Italy tightens Covid restrictions further with new emergency decree
Restaurants in Rome now have to close early under regional curfew rules. Could this soon be extended nationwide? Photo: AFP
The Italian government has announced its third emergency decree in two weeks as the coronavirus situation continues to worsen across the country.
Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte tightened nationwide coronavirus restrictions Sunday after the country recorded a record number of new cases, despite opposition from regional leaders.
 
Cinemas, theatres, gyms and swimming pools must all close under the new rules, which will come into force on Monday, while restaurants and bars will have to stop serving at 6pm, the prime minister announced  on Sunday afternoon.
 
“The aim is clear: to keep the contagion curve under control, because that is the only way can we manage the pandemic without being overwhelmed by it,” Conte told a press conference.
 
It was imperative Italy act now to avoid a second full lockdown, which “the country can no longer afford”, he said.
 
After the last two decrees were signed on October 13th and 18th, health experts and local politicians continued to urge the government to enforce far stricter measures in view of the sharply rising contagion curve, and warned that tracing and testing was no longer enough to control the surge in Italy's biggest cities
 
Italy recorded a further 19,644 new infections on Saturday and 151 deaths.
 
However Italy’s worst-hit regions of Lombardy, Campania and Lazio have in recent days implemented their own tougher local measures, including nighttime curfews.
 
Piedmont in the north and Sicily in the south will follow this week.
Here is a summary of the most important changes:
 
Restricted opening for restaurants
 
Bars, restaurants and other food businesses will have to close at 6pm daily.
 
Takeaway and home delivery are still allowed.
 
 
Gyms, pools, cinemas to close
 
“The activities of games rooms, betting shops, bingo halls and casinos are suspended. Shows open to the public in theatres, concert halls, cinemas and other open spaces are also suspended”, the draft of the latest decree states.
 
In addition, gyms and swimming pools must all close, the prime minister's office stated on Sunday.
 
Recommendation not to leave your comune
 
The provisional decree text states: “it is strongly recommended that all persons do not travel, by public or private means of transport, to a municipality other than that of residence, domicile or home, except for proven work, study, or health reasons, for situations of need, or to carry out activities or use services that are not suspended and not available in that municipality.”
 
More online learning for high school students
 
Nursery schools, elementary and middle schools are to continue lessons with students in attendance.
 
High schools across the country will be required to teach at least 75 percent of lessons online, as the latest decree aims to standardize various regional ordinances.
 

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