Coronavirus: Italy to lock down Milan and northern provinces
Italy is to quarantine more than 10 million people, with a lockdown in the region of Lombardy – which has Milan as its capital – and a dozen northern provinces.
The decree has now been signed off. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that the new measures would be implemented shortly.
It would give authorities the power to fine anyone caught entering or leaving the region, and would see the closure of schools, bars, cinemas and public events until April 3.
The areas to be locked down include Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia and Rimini in the region of Emilia-Romagna; Venice, Padua and Treviso in the region of Veneto; Asti and Alessandria in Piedmont; and the province of Pesaro and Urbino in the central region of Marche.
The decree instructs citizens to “absolutely avoid” either entering or leaving the areas listed, and even to avoid moving around other than for emergencies or “essential work reasons” within the designated areas.
The wealthy northern regions serve as the country’s economic engine. Shocked regional and municipal leaders argued that they were caught off-guard and that implementing the rules so suddenly would be impossible, the New York Times reported.
The move represents the most sweeping effort to contain coronavirus outside China.
On Saturday, Italy had more than 5800 cases of the virus, 233 of them fatal, with increases of almost 800 infections and 49 deaths from the day before.