Italy tightens COVID-19 restrictions for five hard-hit regions
Italy has announced it is tightening coronavirus restrictions for five regions experiencing a wave of cases, the New York Times reports.
Driving the news: Like much of Europe, Italy is seeing a surge in coronavirus cases nationwide, straining the country's hospitals and health care system.
- Italy recorded 35,098 new coronavirus cases and 580 new deaths on Tuesday, according to data from the Health Ministry.
Details: The central regions of Tuscany, Abruzzo and Umbria in addition to Basilicata in the south and Liguria on the coast have moved from the "yellow zone" category to the more restricted "orange zone," in the country's tiered COVID-19 classification system, per Reuters.
- People can move about within their towns or regions, but cannot leave them, Reuters reported.
- Bars and restaurants will close, but shops can remain open.
What they're saying: “Nearly all the Italian regions are highly affected,” said Giovanni Rezza, the director of the prevention department at the Health Ministry, per NYT.
- Rezza also said the restrictions were necessary because the virus “keeps worsening.”
- But Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has so far resisted implementing a strict countrywide lockdown, and instead he's taken a regional, tiered approach.
- Last week, Conte announced that the strictest policies would be implemented in four "red zone" regions: Lombardy, Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta in the north, as well as Calabria in the south. Lombardy is home to Milan and accounts for one-fifth of Italy's GDP.
- Bolzano, in the northern part of the country, was expected to be added to the "red zone" list, Reuters reported Monday.
- Travel in and out of those regions is banned except when absolutely necessary, and bars and restaurants are shuttered. People must also stay in their homes unless they are shopping for essential items or exercising nearby, per AP.
- Some regional officials have protested the restrictions, per NYT.