Schools, restaurants, shops and museums closed across most of Italy on Monday as new rules were enforced amid a new wave of Covid-19 infections.
The whole country, with the exception of Sardinia, is under tough ‘red’ or ‘orange’ zone restrictions until at least April 6th.
Despite the country’s immunisation programme recently gathering pace, authorities are concered abot surges in infections fuelled by a Covid-19 variant first detected in Britain.
The streets of central Rome were quiet Monday morning as the new restrictions took hold, which were sure to further bruise businesses already battered by a year of anti-virus measures.
“I didn’t expect it. We live from day to day,” said barista Ana Cedeno as she prepared take-out coffees for a few customers.
All non-essential shops were closed from Monday, including in Rome and Milan, with residents told to stay home except for work, health or other essential reasons.
New restrictions will be in place until at least Easter, when all of Italy would be under ‘red’ zone restrictions over the weekend of April 3-5, the prime minister’s office has confirmed.
The only exception to the restrictions is Sardinia, which is Italy’s only “white zone”.
On Friday, Draghi thanked Italians for their “infinite patience” and said the new measures would be accompanied by fresh support for families and businesses.
But he acknowledged there would be “consequences for the education of children, for the economy and also for the psychological state of us all”.