Italians unravel new world of strict virus-control measures

Italians unravel new world of strict virus-control measures


MILAN (AP) — Confusion reigned in northern Italy over who could go where and under what circumstances Monday, the first business day since the government locked down a vast area with more than one-quarter of the Italian population in a desperate attempt to contain the country's coronavirus epidemic.

Skyrocketing infections that cemented Italy as a global virus hot spot and superficial compliance with earlier restrictions covering 11 towns led the government to extend its quarantine order to encompass the entire Lombardy region and 14 provinces in the Piemonte, Veneto and Emilia Romagna regions.

Streets in Milan, Italy's financial hub and the main city in Lombardy, were unseasonably quiet. Check points were set up at the city's main train station to screen travelers. People at Milan Central Station were being required to sign a police form, self-certifying they were traveling either for ‘’proven work needs,’’ situations of necessity, health reasons or to return to their homes.

‘’Until a few days ago, the thinking was the alarm would pass in some weeks, we just need to follow the rules. Now, we need to explain to citizens that the situation is very, very serious, our hospitals are at the point of collapse,’’ the mayor of the city of Bergamo, Giorgio Gori, told RAI state television.

People circulating inside the city and also in the provinces beyond were subjected to spot checks to ensure they had valid reasons for being out. Violators risked up to three months jail or fines of 206 euros ($225)

The message from authorities was an increasingly blunt ‘’Stay at home.’’

Italy registered 1,807 more confirmed cases as of Monday evening, for a national total of 9,172. With the latest numbers, Italy again overtook South Korea as the country with the most cases outside China. The number of dead in...

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