The Italian government just ordered the entire country to go on lockdown

Mar 9, 2020

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Italy is effectively on lockdown in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The government has extended to the whole of the country the restrictions it had introduced previously in Milan, Venice and surrounding areas. The measures include curtailing freedom of movement, canceling all public events, shutting down museums and most public places and closing all schools and universities.

That means a nation of 60 million is sequestered indoors, and tourism, while not banned outright, will become extremely difficult. Flights into and out of the country are still operating and hotels are functioning, but pretty much all tourist sights are closed.

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Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said at a press conference on Monday that all non-essential travel — i.e. not for work or emergency reasons — is forbidden throughout the country as of Tuesday morning, although it isn’t yet clear how this will be enforced. Conte was quoted by Rome-based newspaper La Repubblica as saying that “limiting public transport is not being considered” so that “people can go to work,” yet also said that people should stay home.

Bars and restaurants will not be closed, but are allowed to open only between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Flight-tracking site FlightRadar24 showed several flights operating in and out of Milan and Rome airports on Monday at 5 p.m. Eastern Time, but it’s unclear how this will change. The largest airline in Italy by passengers carried, Ryanair, canceled many of its flights in the north of the country; flag carrier Alitalia has suspended all flights from Milan’s Malpensa (MXP) airport and all international flights from the city’s other airport, Linate (LIN). International flights from Rome are still running, although with reduced schedules. The Italian civil aviation authority said, as quoted by Rome-based newspaper La Repubblica, that “all airports, including those within restricted areas, are open and operational.”

Related reading: Complete guide to traveling during the deadly coronavirus outbreak

According to Italy’s Civil Protection Department, people who are known to have contracted the COVID-19 virus in Italy are now 7,985 and 463 have died.

“There’s no more time, ” Conte said on Monday, adding that “we must change our habits and change them now.”

Featured photo by Gianmarco Maraviglia/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

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