Italy to impose nationwide coronavirus lockdown over Easter weekend
Italy will be placed under a nationwide lockdown over the Easter weekend for the second year running, a draft decree law seen by Reuters said on Friday, underlining the struggle to stem a fresh surge in coronavirus cases.
Non-essential shops will be shuttered nationwide from April 3-5. On those days, Italians will only be allowed to leave their homes for work, health or emergency reasons.
However, a number of regions including wealthy Lombardy, which is centred on Italy’s financial capital Milan, look certain to be placed under full lockdown from Monday because of the recent jump in infections and hospitalisations.
“I hope that this will be the last sacrifice asked of our citizens,” said Lombardy President Attilio Fontana.
Italy, the first Western country hit hard by the pandemic, saw infections rise by 10% this week compared with the week before, and officials have warned that the situation is deteriorating as new, highly contagious variants gain ground.
The country was placed under its first nationwide lockdown a year ago, which lasted 10 weeks. A second lockdown was imposed at Christmas. In recent months, the government has introduced restrictions at a regional level, depending on case numbers.
Italy has reported more than 100,000 deaths from the disease since discovering its first cases 13 months ago, the seventh highest toll worldwide.