Covid-19: Italy tells local councils to crack down on crowds and gatherings

Covid-19: Italy tells local councils to crack down on crowds and gatherings
Rome police patrol the Trevi fountain area after the new nationwide 10pm curfew. Photo: AFP
After news reports and photos on social media showed crowds gathering in streets across Italy this weekend, the government has told local councils to do more.

The Italian interior ministry on Tuesday told local authorities across the country to crack down on public gatherings, calling for “tighter” controls and “more effective and prompt” action.

Q&A: Your key questions about Italy's coronavirus rules answered

It said every local prefettura should urgently come up wth an action plan, and could coordinate with mayors to use new powers allowing them to seal off streets and piazzas if crowds start to gather.

While some city centres stood almost empty over the weekend, particularly after 10pm under a new nationwide curfew, there were widespread reports in Italian media of crowds gathering in many towns and cities despite the new rules in force.

The government last week introduced a three-tiered system of rules intended to combat the spread of the virus.

People in red and orange zones are asked not to move around within their municipality unless necessary, and bars and restaurants in those areas are closed completely.
 
The entire country remains under an evening curfew between 10pm and 5am.
 
 
Calabria, Lombardy, Piedmont and Val d'Aosta are under the toughest restrictions after being classed as high-risk red zones.

Five regions – Abruzzo, Umbria, Basilicata, Liguria and Tuscany – will be bumped up from yellow to orange zones on Wednesday, joining Puglia and Sicily.

The rest of the country is moderate risk – yellow.

Italy last week introduced the tiered system of restrictions, which is based on 21 different criteria, as it sought to avoid a second nationwide lockdown.
 
Doctors on Monday urged the government to put the whole country under lockdown, as health experts said the coronavirus situation in Italy is “largely out of control”.

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