The Government of Italy has decided to temporarily cease all productive activities, except those that are essential for citizens, in an attempt to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, which has already caused more than 4,800 deaths in the country.The Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Tell, said today, in a press conference broadcast live on the social network Facebook, that this is a "difficult decision", but "necessary", to "face the most acute phase" of this pandemic, which has already made Italy the country with the highest number of deaths in the world.The Government decided to end all "production activities, throughout the territory, that are not strictly necessary, crucial and essential to guarantee essential goods and services", he said.
The Italian region of Lombardy, the most affected by the covid-19 pandemic, today tightened restrictive measures to contain the outbreak, enacting a ban on sports and fines of up to 5,000 euros for meetings in public places.
The decree goes into effect from Sunday and runs until April 15, explained the Northern Italy region on its website.
The document suspends craft activities, public offices and professional companies, as well as weekly markets, except those related to essential, urgent or public utility services, prevents the use of vending machines and interrupts works in progress, except those hospital and road.
All accommodation units will also be closed and customers will have to abandon them within the first 72 hours after the decree comes into force, leaving only accommodation related to emergency management.
According to the new decree, health professionals will be entitled to clinical follow-up before the start of their work shift.
The region also advises the population to keep one meter away at all times, such as in public transport, supermarkets, pharmacies and hospitals, recommending that body temperature meters be facilitated.
The new coronavirus, responsible for the covid-19 pandemic, has already infected more than 290,000 people worldwide, of whom more than 12,700 have died.
After appearing in China in December, the outbreak spread worldwide, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare a pandemic situation.
The European continent is the one where the highest number of cases is currently emerging, with Italy being the country in the world with the highest number of fatalities, with 4,825 dead (793 more than on Friday) in 53,578 cases (more 6,557, a record in 24 hours). According to Italian authorities, 6,062 of those infected are already cured.
China, not counting the territories of Hong Kong and Macau, where the epidemic broke out at the end of December, has a total of 81,008 cases, with 3,255 deaths and 71,740 people cured.
The countries most affected after Italy and China are Iran, with 1,556 deaths out of a total of 20,610 cases, Spain with 1,236 deaths (24,926 cases), France, with 562 deaths (14,459 cases), and the United States , with 260 deaths (19,624 cases).
Several countries have adopted exceptional measures, including the quarantine regime and border closure.