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Duomo Square is seen empty in Florence, Italy, as the country imposes new restrictions. Photo: Paolo Lo Debole/Getty Image

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.

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.”

The big picture: Italy has already imposed a nationwide curfew, from 10pm to 5am daily, and mandated restaurants and bars to close early.

  • 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.

Go deeper... In photos: Coronavirus restrictions grow across Europe

Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

NYC set to restart indoor dining in February, weddings in March

Outdoor dining in New York City in January. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that if the current coronavirus positivity in New York City holds, indoor dining will reopen at 25% capacity on Feb. 14, one of the busiest dining days of the year.

Why it matters: The forced closure of indoor dining in December caused major backlash, as New York's struggling restaurant industry had already been hit hard by pandemic restrictions. Restaurants will still be required to close at 1o p.m.

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