ROME, Italy: As coronavirus infections quickly increase, the Italian government has approved a total lockdown, though not yet enforced, for half of the country, including the Rome area.
Italy’s cabinet has approved regulations that will label regions as high-risk “red zones” if more than 250 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents are reported in one week.
On Thursday, authorities in Italy reported 25,673 new Covid-19 infections and 373 deaths.
Beginning Monday, those regions facing complete lockdown include Lombardy, Lazio, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Veneto, Piedmont, Marche, and the province of Trento, according to Italian media.
The lockdown is expected to remain in place until Easter weekend, during which the whole country, apart from Sardinia, will be classified as a red zone.
Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Friday, “The measures are necessary to avoid a deterioration that would make even more stringent measures inevitable But they will be accompanied by [financial support] for families and businesses, as well as the acceleration of the vaccine program, which alone gives hope of an exit from the pandemic.”
Draghi noted that just in the past week there had been an increase of almost 5,000 Covid-19 patients in hospitals and 600 in intensive care units.
In Italy, more than 100,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the past year. Italy has suffered long lockdowns, as well as the worst recession since World War II.