Easter lockdown looms in Italy, again

Italy will be placed under another nationwide lockdown, this time over the Easter weekend and for the second year running, the government said on Friday (March 12).

The country is currently battling a fresh surge in coronavirus cases.

Here's Italian Prime Minister, Mario Draghi:

"A few days ago I thanked the Italians for their infinite patience. I am aware that today's measures will have consequences for the education of children, for the economy and also for the psychological state of all of us. The president of the Red Cross reminded me of the psychological difficulty that some people have suffered, especially the elderly, but I think it is the same for everybody, especially for people who live alone, who today feel even more alone. It is difficult for them to see the people who they love. These measures are necessary to avoid a deterioration that would make even more stringent measures inevitable."

Non-essential shops will be closed across the country from the 3rd to 5th of April.

On those days, Italians will only be allowed to leave their homes for work, health or emergency reasons.

A number of regions though, including wealthy Lombardy, look set to be placed under full lockdown from as early as Monday, due to a recent jump in infections and hospitalizations.

Italy saw infections rise by 10% this week compared with the week before, with officials warning of new, highly contagious variants gaining ground.

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