Italy to impose nationwide COVID lockdown over Easter weekend: Report

WION Web Team
New DelhiUpdated: Mar 12, 2021, 06:22 PM IST


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Italy has seen rise in infections by 10 per cent this week compared with the week before

A nationwide lockdown will be imposed in Italy over Easter weekend for the second year running, said Reuters citing draft decree law. As per the draft decree law, non-essential shops will be shuttered across the nation from April 3-5. Citizens will only be allowed to leave their homes for work, health or emergency reasons.

However, a number of regions including wealthy Lombardy, which is centred on Italy's financial capital Milan, look certain to be placed under full lockdown from Monday because of the recent jump in infections and hospitalisations.

"I hope that this will be the last sacrifice asked of our citizens," said Lombardy President Attilio Fontana.

Italy has seen rise in infections by 10 per cent this week compared with the week before. The officials have warned that situation is deteriorating. Italy was the first western country that was hit hard at the start of the pandemic.

It was not immediately clear how the decree would affect churchgoers in the Catholic country. However, it was expected to be similar to provisions last Christmas when people were allowed to go to churches in their neighbourhoods.

A Vatican source said Pope Francis' Easter Eve Mass likely would be held a few hours earlier so that faithful could get home in time for Italy's 10 p.m. curfew and that the pontiff's Holy Week activities before Easter would be held in the Vatican with a limited number of participants.

Unlike last year, the new decree, which was expected to be approved by Prime Minister Mario Draghi's cabinet later on Friday, allows for limited visits to friends and relatives over the Easter holiday - for example to see elderly parents.

But the decree also imposes tougher curbs for the country's low-risk "yellow" regions as of Monday, severely limiting movement between towns and closing restaurants and bars.

Italy has reported more than 100,000 deaths from the disease since discovering its first cases 13 months ago, the seventh-highest toll worldwide.

(With Reuters inputs)