Quarantine measures for a quarter of Italian population due to coronavirus

In the north of Italy, around 16 million people are not allowed to travel without good reason due to the corona virus outbreak. Prime Minister Conte announced this in a rare nocturnal press conference. The move, which affects a quarter of the Italian population, is the most far-reaching that a government has taken outside of China because of the virus.

The emergency measures apply until at least 3 April for the Lombardy region and fourteen provinces in the north of the country. The most important city of the north, Milan, is also part of the area, just like the tourist destination of Venice.

“We are faced with an emergency situation, a national emergency situation,” Conte said when announcing the decree setting out the measures. He spoke of “very rigorous” measures that are necessary to prevent the further spread of the corona virus.

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Swimming pools, museums and gyms close their doors and in restaurants and cafes people have to keep one meter apart. Funerals and cultural events are also canceled. People with fever are not allowed to leave their home, whether or not they have been tested for the corona virus.

Parts of the plan leaked earlier, but until now it was not certain whether the measures were actually implemented. After the plans had leaked out, some took the risk: at the Milan train station, people tried to catch the last trains to other regions late on Saturday night, some without a ticket.

Italy registered the most new corona infections yesterday since the virus broke out there. Nearly 6,000 Italians are now infected. Of them, 233 died. Earlier, Italy quarantined a number of villages in Lombardy and Veneto. They affected around 50,000 people.