Italy has ordered a nationwide closure over much of the Christmas and New Year holidays in an effort to curb the growing number of coronavirus cases.
The country will be subject to the limits of “red areas” during public holidays, when shops, restaurants and non-essential places are closed, and Italians are only allowed to travel for work, health and emergency reasons.
Limited home visits will be allowed.
Italy’s Prime Minister Speaks
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said “this is not an easy decision”.
“Our experts were very worried that there would be more cases over Christmas. So we have to take action,” he told a news conference.
Italy recorded the highest number of Covid deaths in Europe, with an estimated 68,000 deaths.
Mr Conte said the launch of the vaccination program later this month would mark the beginning of “the end of this nightmare.”
The announcement of the Christmas limits on Friday follows days of tensions in the ruling coalition between those seeking total closure and others seeking measures to help struggling businesses and allow families to reunite.
Meanwhile in France, President Emmanuel Macron is still living alone in the official residence of La Lanterne in Versailles after discovering he has a Covid-19. Mr Macron said he was suffering from fatigue, headaches and a dry cough.
The Rules And Restrictions
Restrictions for “red areas” will be available throughout Italy on December 24-27, December 31 to January 3, and January 5 to January 6.
At this point people “can only leave the house for reasons of work, need and health,” Mr Conte said.
But, he added, the rules will allow people to have two guests, excluding people under the age of 14, in their homes. The time to get home from 22:00 to 05:00 will always be there.
Reduced buttocks will be available from 28 to 30 December and 4 January. These days, people will be free to leave their homes but bars and restaurants will remain closed.
Mr Conte said the rules were designed to “allow for a minimum of social fit for the occasion”.
He said police would not be sent to people’s homes to monitor compliance, but urged Italians to take action.
Elsewhere In Europe
Many European countries have been tightening restrictions before Christmas following an epidemic of disease.
The Netherlands and Germany have imposed sanctions until January. In Germany, Christmas will be easier, when one family is allowed to have close to four family members.
In Austria, the government said on Friday the country would close for the third time after Christmas. From December 26, non-essential stores will be closed and travel outside the home will be banned.
Sweden has recommended the wearing of face masks on public transport during the rush hour, changing its previous direction. It will also reduce the current table to eight to four the number of people sitting together in restaurants, and ban the sale of alcohol after 20:00.
Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovic, who attended an EU summit with Mr Macron last week, said he had been tested for coronavirus on Friday.
Many other European leaders present at the summit, including ministers from Belgium, Spain, Portugal and Luxembourg, said they would split.
In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he “hopes to avoid” another national ban in England but Covid-19 cases have increased “significantly” in recent weeks.