Most of Italy’s 20 regions, including the regions surrounding the cities of Rome and Milan, are entering another round of lockdown that could last until Easter, in order to curb the spread of the CCP virus, which causes the COVID-19 disease.
A year after Italy became the first in Europe to suffer a major CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus outbreak, the nation once again finds itself in the middle of a surge in infections, this time with new variants, including those identified in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil.
In response, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s one-month-old government on Friday approved regulations that will designate most of Italy’s regions as high-risk “red zones,” where schools, restaurants, museums, and “non-essential shops” are ordered to close.
Among the red-zoned regions are Lazio and Lombardy, which contain Rome, the nation’s capital, and Milan, one of Europe’s financial hubs, respectively. All residents in the red zones are told to stay home except for work, health, or other reasons deemed essential.
“Unfortunately, one year after the start of the emergency, there is a new wave of contagion,” Draghi said as he visited a COVID-19 vaccination center near Rome, reported ANSA.
“In the last week there have been more than 150,000 infections, compared to 131,000 the previous week, an increase of almost 5,000 people in hospital and 600 in intensive care,” the prime minister said. “These figures mean we must adopt the utmost caution to limit the number of deaths and stop health facilities being saturated.”
Draghi thanked Italians for their “infinite patience,” noting that he was aware of the impact the lockdown measures would have on children’s education, the economy, and the psychological state of everyone in the country.
“They are necessary to avoid a deterioration of the situation that would make even more stringent measures inevitable,” he said.
The entire country is expected to become a red zone over the Easter weekend, from April 3 through 5, according to the Italian government.
It’s not immediately clear how the new restrictions would affect church activities in the Catholic-dominated nation. People were allowed to go to churches that are nearest to their home last Christmas, when the country was under lockdown restrictions.