ALL NEWS

All of Italy is in lockdown as coronavirus cases rise

Mar 10, 2020, 6:36 AM | Updated: Mar 12, 2020, 9:01 am
Prison Police officers stand guard after an ambulance (Rear) entered the SantAnna prison during a p...
Prison Police officers stand guard after an ambulance (Rear) entered the SantAnna prison during a protest of inmates' relatives in Modena, Emilia-Romagna, in one of Italy's quarantine red zones on March 9, 2020. - Inmates in four Italian prisons have revolted over new rules introduced to contain the coronavirus outbreak, leaving one prisoner dead and others injured, a prison rights group said on March 8. Prisoners at jails in Naples Poggioreale in the south, Modena in the north, Frosinone in central Italy and at Alexandria in the northwest had all revolted over measures including a ban on family visits, unions said. (Photo by Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP) (Photo by PIERO CRUCIATTI/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by PIERO CRUCIATTI/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNN) — Italy has been put under a dramatic total lockdown, as the coronavirus spreads in the country. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that he is extending restrictions already in place in the north.

“All the measure of the red zones are now extended to all of the national territory,” Conte said at a press conference on Monday evening as he also announced a ban on all public events.

The Prime Minister said the move was taken in order to protect the population, and especially the most fragile individuals. His announcement came at the end of a chaotic day that saw prison riots across the country.

Ninety-seven people have died of the novel coronavirus since Sunday in Italy, bringing its total number of deaths to 463. The country has 9,172 cases so far, the most of any European country.

Over the weekend, blanket travel restrictions were announced in just certain areas. The rest of the country will now join the northern provinces under lockdown — one of the toughest responses implemented outside of mainland China to get the Covid-19 pandemic under control.

The coordinator for intensive care in the crisis unit for the northern Lombardy region told CNN that Lombardy’s health care system was “one step from collapse” despite efforts to free up hospital beds.

“We are now being forced to set up intensive care treatment in corridors,” Antonio Pesenti said. “We’ve emptied entire hospital sections to make space for seriously sick people.”

He described seeing “a tsunami of patients,” adding that there could be 18,000 patients in hospital by the end of the month if the virus continues to spread.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said. “Italians should be worried.”

Lombardy President Attilio Fontana said in a statement said the new lockdown measures may not be enough.

“A necessary step but, I fear, still insufficient,” Fontana said. “The numbers in Lombardy and in the rest of the country show that the contagion is constantly expanding, with all consequences we know starting with the overload of work in hospitals, in particular in intensive care.”

Under the previous north-only lockdown, checks on compliance with the movement ban were to be carried out on main highways and along smaller roads by the Carabinieri (military police) and municipal police forces, while railway police, health authority workers and civil protection staff using thermoscan appliances will enforce the travel ban on the state’s railways.

Travelers, including those departing or arriving in the containment regions by airplane, were to be checked to see whether they have a self-declared travel exemption.

Checks were also introduced for cruise ship passengers arriving in Venice, who will not be able to disembark to visit the city, but will only be able to return to their place of residence or country of origin.

Michele De Marsico told CNN at a Milan train station on Sunday that he was trying to work out how to return to southern Italy. “I was worried, so I came here to the train station to check out the situation,” said the 55-year-old.

Protests in Italian prisons

The lockdown so far has already produced damaging ripple effects in the country. Inmates overran a number of prisons on Monday, escaping their facilities and kidnapping officers, after visitors were banned in an effort to curb the spread of the virus, the Justice Ministry said in a statement.

Multiple inmates have died in the uproar, which swept 22 prisons. Some continue to occupy their facilities, even reaching the roof in some cases.

In the southern city of Foggia, inmates occupied the entire compound and 43 detainees escaped, before being captured by the prison’s police force and other law enforcement agencies, the statement said.

In Modena, in the north, inmates are “still occupying two sections of the prison.” There some inmates broke into the infirmary, where they got hold of various drugs, including methadone, the director of the Italian penitentiary system Francesco Basentini, said in a TV interview.

Six inmates died there, he added. Two of the dead died of an overdose, and another from the inhalation of toxic smoke. Basentini said the cause of the three remaining deaths was under investigation.

Meanwhile, in Rome’s Rebibbia prison, inmates reached an external area and badly damaged an entire pavilion. And four prison officers were kidnapped in Bologna, where 350 inmates managed to occupy two sections of the facility. Almost all of the jails are “seriously damaged,” according to the ministry statement.

Quarantine zone stretches across country

There have been more than 108,000 confirmed cases and 3,821 deaths related to the novel coronavirus worldwide. Despite signs of improvement in Asia — with China and South Korea recording a slowdown in the number of new cases — the situation in Europe and North America appears to be worsening.

Under the initial lockdown rules, schools, universities, theaters, cinemas, bars and nightclubs were closed in Italy’s north. Religious ceremonies, including funerals and weddings, and sporting events were suspended or postponed. Restaurants and bars were allowed to be open from 6am to 6pm, and malls and markets could open on weekdays if they could assure a meter (three feet) of distance between each client.

“This is of the utmost importance not only from a healthcare point of view but also economically. A temporary downturn in some sectors or areas of the country is preferable to a longer crisis that could spread to the whole economy via demand and supply effects,” the original statement read.

Hotel worker Alice Baldisserri, 38, told CNN that “Milan’s hotels are empty, so the jobs are at risk.” Baldisserri said Italy’s tourism industry had been “hit the hardest” by the outbreak.

The restrictions could take a toll on Italy’s already fragile economy. Italian tourism representatives warned last month that 200 million euros ($260 million) in bookings had been canceled since the outbreak was first announced.

The Italian government is preparing measures to support workers and firms across the country, particularly in sectors and areas most affected by the outbreak to try to prevent “lasting damage to the supply side of the Italian economy and permanent employment losses.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called on “all countries to continue efforts that have been effective in limiting the number of cases and slowing the spread of the virus.”

In a statement, the WHO said: “Allowing uncontrolled spread should not be a choice of any government, as it will harm not only the citizens of that country but affect other countries as well.”

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Local environmental groups are taking a victory lap now that a medical waste incinerator in North S...
Lindsay Aerts

Stericycle can no longer burn medical waste in SLC, but the fight to stop toxic pollutants may not be over

Local environmental groups are taking a victory lap now that a medical waste incinerator in North Salt Lake belonging to Stericycle, has been shut down.
22 hours ago
Utah Fire Info says the Deuel Creek Fire is now 100% contained. Photo Credit: Utah Fire Info....
Devin Oldroyd

Deuel Creek Fire is now 100% contained, Utah Fire Info says

Utah Fire Info says the Deuel Creek Fire is now 100% contained after days of firefighters combating the blaze.
22 hours ago
Smoke is visible behind an airplane...
Devin Oldroyd

Grass fire near Salt Lake City International Airport causes road closure

A grass fire started near Salt Lake City International Airport Wednesday morning.
22 hours ago
Cars drive through the I-15 and I-215 interchange. The Cottonwood heights 1-215 bridge will close t...
Samantha Herrera

UDOT to temporarily close Cottonwood Heights I-215 bridge for restoration

The Utah Department of Transportation will close the Union Park Avenue to westbound I-215 flyover bridge in Cottonwood Heights for two weeks.
22 hours ago
Utah Highway Patrol car. UHP just responded to a Cedar City crash Wednesday....
Devin Oldroyd

Cedar City crash caused by sleeping driver, police say

A driver in Cedar City reportedly fell asleep behind the wheel crashing head-on into another vehicle, sending one person to the hospital.
22 hours ago
The family of Zane James reacts to settlement with Cottonwood Heights city....
Mark Jackson

Family of Zane James speaks out after settlement reached with Cottonwood Heights

The family of Zane James, who died after a police altercation in 2018, reached a settlement with the city of Cottonwood Heights over the death.
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
All of Italy is in lockdown as coronavirus cases rise