Italy will go into a nationwide lockdown during the Christmas and New Year period to tackle a spike in COVID-19 infections, the country’s Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte announced late on on Friday.

Under the new measures, the whole country will be under “red-zone” lockdown, meaning that all shops, bars, restaurants and cafes will close and travel between regions will be banned. However, food markets, hairdressers, laundries and bookstores will remain open. 

People are only allowed to leave their home for strictly essential reasons, such as for work, medical appointments, to do the groceries or go to the pharmacy, however, a maximum of two adults could leave their household to visit another person’s home. An overnight curfew from 9pm to 5 am will remain in place throughout the duration of the festive period lockdown.

Whilst labelling the move as a “painful decision”, the Italian PM voiced concerns over the family and friends gatherings during the Christmas holiday season, that could risk infections getting out of control, ahead of a general resumption of activities planned for January.

“The virus continues to circulate everywhere. We can bend it, but we cannot defeat it. This is why even among our experts there is a strong concern that the contagion curve could surge during the Christmas period,” Conte said during a press conference. 

However, he noted that confinement measures will be relaxed for the period of December 28,29 and 30, as well as for January 4, during which, the country will in “orange zone lockdown” and shops can remain open until 9pm and people will be allowed to move around freely. 



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