Italy orders bars to close early, shuts gyms as COVID cases surge

Cheryl Sanders
October 26, 2020

Protesters have pelted riot police with fireworks during demonstrations against new coronavirus restrictions. France imposed a nighttime curfew in Paris and other major cities to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

A day earlier, Italy surpassed a half million confirmed coronavirus cases since February, when it became the first country in Europe stricken by the pandemic. Some of the other measures adopted in the new decree includes the closure of bars and restaurants at 6PM, the suspension of all amateur sport leagues, and a ban on public swimming pools.

As authorities and experts worry that the situation in Europe may soon spin out of control, governments are imposing curfews and social restrictions in an attempt to avoid full-scale lockdowns that could hurt the economy and dim the upcoming holiday season.

"We must do everything possible to protect the health and the economy, and to avert a second general lockdown", Conte said, promising that, if all goes well, new restrictions will be lifted by Christmas. 'We can not lower our guard, ' he added.

Far-right protesters clash with Italian police over new Covid-19 measures

The United States - still the worst-hit country - smashed its own record for new daily cases this weekend, pushing the issue up the agenda in the nation's presidential election campaign. Piedmont in the north and Sicily in the south will follow this week. Intensive care cases have tripled in the past fortnight. Despite this, Italy's top public health body warned on Friday services were approaching crisis point.

Vincenzo De Luca, the head of Campania, based in Naples, has set the pace, shutting schools and announcing a nighttime curfew.

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.

'Current data on the contagion make any kind of partial measure ineffective.

De Luca said it is necessary to "close everything", except for sectors that produce and transport essential goods, as well as blocking movement between regions. We need local, even regional lockdowns.

There were also protests in Poland yesterday as hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of Warsaw to oppose the new virus restrictions after Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki declared the entire country a "red zone".

Sanchez last week signaled that infections in Spain may be much more pervasive than the official data show.

Spain's second nationwide emergency of the pandemic is not as restrictive as the mandatory home confinement that Sánchez ordered in March and lasted for six weeks before being gradually relaxed as the number of new confirmed cases fell.

Duda, 48, said in a tweet that he had tested positive but "felt fine" and was still on the job.

Restaurant and bar owners had lobbied hard against the new measures, which allow no more than four diners per table unless they are from the same family and order a halt to indoor dining at 6 p.m.

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