Italy enforces 'enormous sacrifice' days after national coronavirus lockdown

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.

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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.

Waiters pile up chairs and prepare to close, according to the Italian government measures to slow down the diffusion of the new Coronavirus, at an hour when normally they warm up for the maximum affluence of customers, at a restaurant in Rome's Piazza Navona, Tuesday, March 10, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
Restaurants, cafes and bars will be forced to close if they cannot guarantee patrons will be one metre apart from each other. Source: AP
An armed guard outside the closed off Duomo di Milano . Source: Getty
An armed guard outside the closed off Duomo di Milano . Source: Getty

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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