Italy’s 60 million population will be subject to even tighter restrictions as of Thursday (local time) as its unprecedented lockdown in response to the coronavirus outbreak is extended further.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced all shops except for supermarkets, food stores and chemists, will be shut down and companies must cease production and close departments that are not deemed vital.
Bars and restaurants, which were initially prohibited from opening beyond 6pm in Conte’s initial national lockdown on Tuesday, will close if they cannot guarantee the necessary separation of customers.
“You are making enormous sacrifices,” Conte told the nation.
“I know that’s not easy, but these [sacrifices] are making a great and precious contribution to the country.”
On Wednesday, Italy’s death toll surged by 31 per cent to 827.
The move follows the decision to close schools, universities, attractions, museums, theatres, cinemas and sports stadiums.
While WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday (local time) praised Italy’s response to the outbreak, medical teams in Italy have expressed concern over the initial response and the lack of medical resources to cope with the surge in cases.
Tedros, despite weeks of reluctancy, announced on Wednesday the outbreak was a pandemic.
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