Italy's Prime Minister Taking Coronavirus Lockdown 'One Step Further' With Store Closures
All stores are closed with the exception of supermarkets and pharmacies.
Italy's prime minister Giuseppe Conte has ordered all shops in the country to close — with the exception of supermarkets and pharmacies — the latest initiative aimed at combating a widening coronavirus problem in Italy.
The new directive follows a lockdown of the entire country earlier this week, banning all public gatherings and allowing individuals to travel only for work or family emergencies, according to The BBC. That in itself was an expansion of the quarantine originally placed on the country's northern regions and shuttering iconic tourist attractions.
It also comes as President Donald Trump suspended all travel from Europe to the U.S. for the next 30 days, with the exception of the U.K. and Americans returning.
Conte said the latest measures “go one step further,” according to CNBC, and include closing down bars and restaurants.
As of Thursday, more than 12,000 people in Italy had been diagnosed with confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University's real-time map.
“At this moment the whole world is certainly looking at us for the numbers of the contagion, they see a country that is in difficulty, but they also appreciate us because we are showing great strictness and great resistance,” Conte said on Facebook “I have a deep conviction. I would like to share it with you. Tomorrow not only will they look at us again and admire us, but they will take us as a positive example of a country that, thanks to its sense of community, has managed to win its battle against this pandemic.”
The initial quarantine put into place and in effect until April 3, led to the closure of tourist attractions like the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City and the Colosseum in Rome as well as schools, museums, and movie theaters.
The pope has also live-streamed his Sunday prayer service in the wake of the outbreak.
In additional measures, temperature checks were being implemented at train stations and cruise ships were not allowed to dock in Venice, one of the quarantined cities.
Following the initial quarantine, Reuters reported the country’s national carrier, Alitalia, reduced the number of flights in and out of Milan, but not stopped them altogether, while Delta and American Airlines have suspended flights to the northern city.
Other popular attractions also shut their doors, including the Archaeological Park of the Colosseum (which holds the Colosseum itself and the Roman Forum), and the Uffizi Galleries in Florence, which contains both the museum itself as well as the Pitti Palace and Boboli Gardens.
These measures follow the closure of the Louvre museum in Paris, which reopened last week after being closed for three days.
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