Giuseppe Conte — who is the current prime minister of Italy — signed a decree earlier today, Sunday, March 8, 2020, which places most of northern Italy under lockdown as a result of the biggest jump in infections in one day in Italy. It is the toughest and most restrictive measure taken to control the 2019 Novel Coronavirus outside of mainland China.
16 Million People Quarantined in Northern Italy
This means that approximately 16 million people — or greater than 25 percent of the population of the entire country of Italy — are under quarantine through at least Friday, April 3, 2020.
“Confusion reigned from Milan to Venice as residents and tourists tried to figure out exactly when and how the new rules were coming into effect”, according to this article written by Frances D’Emilio and Yuri Kageyama of the Associated Press. “Travelers rushed to train stations and crammed aboard standing-room only trains, tucking their faces into scarves and sharing sanitizing gel.”
At the time this article was written, at least 3,380 people have died of the minimum of 98,192 confirmed cases in 88 countries and territories worldwide, according to Situation Report 47 of the World Health Organization pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, which is also known as COVID-19 or 2019-nCoV. Of those statistics, at least 197 of those deaths occurred in Italy, where 4,636 confirmed cases of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus have been reported.
In addition to the Lombardy region being included in the current decree are 14 provinces:
Pesaro e Urbino
Suspension of Services and Events in the Entire Country of Italy
Cafes and restaurants will be permitted to stay open between 6:00 in the morning and 6:00 in the evening on the condition that business owners can ensure people are distanced safely by at least one meter. Any violation of this condition by any business will mean the suspension of its operations.
Although most of northern Italy will be covered under the new lockdown decree, numerous measures will also apply to the entire country of Italy — including the suspension of:
Congress and meetings that involve health care personnel and servants of essential public services
Dance schools, pubs, disco and bingo
Religious ceremonies — including funerals
Schools and university classes
Theaters and cinema
According to the aforementioned article, “Italy’s move echoed China’s lockdown of some 60 million people in central Hubei province in late January, which is now in its sixth week.”