Coronavirus: Italy shuts cinemas, gyms and pools in Covid fight

Cheryl Sanders
October 26, 2020

Hundreds of people gathered outside the office of Campania regional president Vincenzo De Luca, chanting "freedom", hurling things at police in riot gear, and overthrowing and setting fire to garbage bins.

In Italy, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte yesterday approved a plan to limit opening hours for bars and restaurants, and shut entertainment, gambling venues and gyms.

More than 70,000 people have lost their lives from the virus in the two countries, accounting for more than a third of all deaths recorded in Europe, excluding Russian Federation.

Spain has passed one million cases since the start of the pandemic and almost 35,000 people have died.

Italian police officers clashing with far right Forza Nuova party activists in Rome's Piazza del Popolo during a protest last Saturday against the government's measures to curb the spread of Covid-19. Workers piling up chairs

The new decree goes into effect tomorrow and lasts until 24 November. It has now registered almost 500,000 cases and 37,000 deaths, according to health ministry figures.

"Tonight we witnessed real criminal behaviour towards the police" - said Naples police commissioner Alessandro Giuliano - "No conditions of discomfort, however humanly understandable, can in any way justify the violence". Under the new rules, all dining establishments, including bars and restaurants, are allowed to operate from 5am to 6pm.

Italy has reported a new daily record of 21,273 coronavirus cases with 128 deaths, as the Government moves to tighten restrictions to bring the rise in cases under control.

Most restaurants in Italy usually do not even start to serve dinner before 8pm, meaning that the restriction seriously cuts into revenues.

"We are on the verge of tragedy, we need a national lockdown", he said.

The virus has claimed more than 224,000 American lives, with no end in sight, and a majority of voters say Trump has handled the crisis poorly.

Conte promised financial aid from his center-left government as soon as November to the food sector and noted that cafes and restaurants can do delivery and takeout orders until midnight. A maximum of four people can sit at a table, unless they are not living together. The new government decree repeals the current regulation of up to 1000 spectators in stadiums for football games and other sports. Receptions after religious or civil ceremonies like weddings are forbidden.

He kept elementary and middle schools open but said 75% of high school pupils must have remote classes.

With public health services coming under strain, authorities have reopened temporary intensive care facilities built during the first phase.

Conte added: "We did it then, we can do it now,"before warning that without any vaccine available "it's not like we'll all be able to hug each other" during the holidays".

By early summer, after Italy's lockdown was all but lifted, new virus caseloads had dropped as low as 200 a day.

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