Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte now says the whole country is on lockdown. This comes as the death toll from coronavirus experienced a drastic rise over the last couple of days in Italy. Reuters reports that there are now 463 people dead and 9172 cases. Based on those numbers alone, that would mean more than 5% of those diagnosed have succumbed to the virus in Italy. It’s quite a jump from Sunday when the death toll stood at 366 and on Saturday when it was 233. The Independent writes that “Italian doctors have warned medics across Europe to ‘get ready’ for coronavirus in a letter revealing up to 10 percent of all those infected with coronavirus need intensive care, with hospitals becoming overwhelmed.” The BBC points out that the average age of deaths from the coronavirus in Italy is 81.4 years, “Italy has one of the world’s oldest populations. The virus is particularly dangerous for the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.”
With all of this in mind, late Monday Conde expanded restrictions already in place for the Northern part of Italy.
The AP reports:
Conte said Monday night that a new government decree will require all people in Italy to demonstrate a need to work, health conditions or other limited reasons to travel outside the areas where they live.
The restrictions will take effect on Tuesday and like those in northern Italy will last until April 3., he said.
“There won’t be just a red zone,″ Conte told reporters referring to the quarantine order he signed for a vast swath of northern Italy with a population of 16 million over the weekend.
“There will be Italy” as a protected area, he said.
Italy banned all public gatherings—no weddings, funerals, concerts, sporting events, discos, bingo games, video arcades, or Mass—until April 3. While trains and planes are still operational, and running on time, the government is forbidding people from leaving unless absolutely necessary.
In the midst of this health emergency, Italy is also having to deal with how the crisis is impacting inmates. The AP reports:
Tensions in Italy’s overcrowded prisons erupted Monday over new coronavirus containment measures, with riots in at least two dozen lock-ups and the deaths of six inmates who broke into an infirmary and overdosed on methadone.
Italy’s national prisoner rights advocate urged wardens to take immediate measures to calm the situation and mitigate the new regulations, which include a suspension or limitation of family visits as a way to prevent transmission of the virus.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is quoted as saying, “These days, I have been thinking about the old speeches of [Winston] Churchill – it is our darkest hour but we will make it”.