Italy's restrictions grow more specific in bid to slow virus
In its most far-reaching measures to avoid the spread of coronavirus, Italy is slowing professional production nationwide, while the hardest-hit region of Lombardy banned any outdoor exercise not on personal property and set distance limits on dog-walking.
Franco Locatelli, president of Italy's Higher Health Council, said Sunday that with the brand new stringent measures announced this weekend, Italy had exhausted all of the possible ways it might to limit personal and professional contact. That came as Italy announced that the increase in both infections and deaths had showed the first sign of narrowing in the last 24 hours.
"Let's always keep social distance,'' Locatelli said. ''Let's adopt these measures, let's manage our behavior and ... certainly we will get the results we are longing for.''
For most people, the brand new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as for example fever or coughing. For a few, especially older adults and people with existing health issues, it could cause more extreme illness, including pneumonia. More than 95,000 persons have recovered, mostly in China.
After a week of complaining that way too many people were still on trips in Lombardy, authorities in the hardest-hit region with almost half of Italy's cases and two-thirds of deaths issued the clearest measures yet to close loopholes being leveraged circumvent bans on movement.
As of Sunday, the utmost radius for dog walking was set at 200 meters, and all outdoor sport that can't be practiced at home was banned - not because sports posed a threat, but because persons were abusing the freedom of movement.
Authorities in Lombardy also raised fines for violators to 5,000 euros ($5,345).
The Lombardy moves came just ahead of new measures announced by Premier Giuseppe Conte to slow industrial production in eurozone's third-largest economy and a significant exporter to only sectors deemed crucial. The federal government on Sunday was still drawing up a list for the slowdown, set to take effect early in the week.
Locatelli urged anyone whose job would be idled by the new measures to not happen to be their hometowns, or risk spreading contagion. He also called on the a lot more than 23,700 Italians with the virus and who were isolated in the home to stay away from family members as reported by the health ministry, to keep carefully the virus in check.
Italy first moved to prevent the virus from arriving in the united states by signing an order Jan. 31 shutting down flights to and from China. A day earlier, authorities confirmed a couple of tourists from Wuhan had tested positive in Rome. Both have since recovered.
Nonetheless it wasn't until Feb. 21 that the first case of locally transmitted COVID-19 was confirmed, in the city of Codogno, southeast of Milan. The town and 10 others, with a complete population of 50,000, were immediately isolated. The federal government on Feb. 22 created the first red zones in the 11 Lombardy towns and the city of Vo' Eugeneo near Padova, with soldiers establishing cordons around the region and residents permitted to leave their homes only for essential pursuits like shopping. Industrial production was stopped, with rare exception.
The very next day, Feb. 23, the governors of Lombardy and neighboring Veneto, where Padua is situated, turn off museums, cinemas and theaters. But stores remained open as did restaurants and, until 6 p.m. bars. The closures emptied city centers but seemed to have less impact inhibiting activity in neighborhoods, suburbs or small towns. Fitness routines moved from closed gyms to outdoor parks. The last two days of Carnival in Venice were canceled, emptying the town of tourists. Schools and universities were closed in a lot of the north.
By the end of this week, the one-meter distance rule was set for shops and restaurants -- but that was not universally observed. Early another week, persons over 75 years of age were advised to stay in the home. Schools were closed until March 15 in every of Italy -- later extended until April 3. Non-urgent court trials were suspended.
With cases still multiplying exponentially, the government on March 8 signed measures extending containment zones to all or any of Lombardy and 14 provinces in the other northern regions affecting 25 % of the population. Under the measures, persons could leave their immediate areas limited to work, healthcare or activities of strict necessity, like shopping
When Italian media reported that the closures were imminent, thousands of folks jammed trains to get back to homes outside of the brand new red-zones - a mass movement that virologists have said helped further spread the contagion.
Only a day later, on March 9, the government extended the lockdown to the complete country. But enforcement was still a matter of interpretation. The mayor of Verona closed parks, seeing too much movement, while Florence's mayor seemed to condone an outside jog. Dog walking remained a valid motivation, but videos popped up on social media of Italians with fake dogs, shaggy stuffed animals on the end of stiff leashes.
Two days later, on March 11, all commercial activities except for those providing necessities were closed.
From March 11-15, the Interior Ministry reported 665,480 persons have been controlled, with 27,616 persons cited.
On Sunday, Rome Police Chief Franco Gabrielli said 80 persons had been cited a day earlier -- including for shopping 10 kilometers (six miles) from your home, traveling 15 kilometers ( about nine miles) to a doctor's appointment and claiming medical known reasons for being out for a walk but lacking a doctor's certification.