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Italy to extend coronavirus lockdown until ‘at least Easter’ as Covid-19 death toll jumps by 812 in a day



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Italy will extend its nationwide lockdown measures until “at least Easter” as the death toll rose by more than 800 in a day.

The country’s Health Ministry did not give a date for the new end of the lockdown, but said it would be in a law the government would propose. The measures had been due to end on Friday.

Italians have been under lockdown for three weeks, with most shops, bars and restaurants shut and people forbidden from leaving their homes for non-essential needs.

Italy is the world’s hardest-hit country in terms of number of deaths and its fatalities account for more than a third of all Covid-19 deaths worldwide. 

The country has seen its total death tally rise to 11,591 since the outbreak emerged in northern regions on February 21.

A man wearing a protective suit cleans the stairway in the neighborhood of Spinaceto, on the outskirts of Rome (AP)

Speaking after reviewing the lockdown on Monday, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said: “The evaluation was to extend all containment measures at least until Easter.”

Italy’s death toll rose by 812 in the last 24 hours, the Civil Protection Agency said, reversing two days of declines, although the number of new cases rose by 4,050, the lowest increase since March 17, reaching a total of 101,739.

However, the decline in the rise of new infections may be partly explained by a reduction in the number of tests, which were the fewest for six days.

Italy: Coronavirus – In pictures

1/29

A deserted San Marco square

AFP via Getty Images

2/29

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping mall in Milan was also deserted

AFP via Getty Images

3/29

Soldiers patrol past an empty restaurant in the Trastevere district of Rome

AFP via Getty Images

4/29

A general view of PIazza Duom

Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

5/29

Grand Canal is virtually deserted after a decree orders for the whole of Italy to be on lockdown in an unprecedented clampdown aimed at beating the coronavirus, in Venice, Ital

Reuters

6/29

A general view shows a deserted terminal at Milan-Malpensa airport in Ferno, northwest of Milan, in one of Italy’s quarantine red zones

AFP via Getty Images

7/29

Inmates stage a protest against new rules to cope with coronavirus emergency, including the suspension of relatives’ visits, on the roof of the San Vittore prison in Milan, Italy,

AP

8/29

The passenger information board in Terminal 5 departures at Heathrow Airport as British Airways has announced that it has cancelled all flights to and from Italy which were scheduled

PA

9/29

A view of a market amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Vintimiglia, Italy,

Reuters

10/29

Police officers and soldiers check passengers leaving from Milan main train station

AP

11/29

Faithful watch Pope Francis deliver the Angelus prayer on a giant screen, in St. Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, Sunday

AP

12/29

A couple kiss in Milano Centrale railway station in Milan on March 8, 2020

AFP via Getty Images

13/29

A man wearing a protective mask passes by the Coliseum in Rome

AFP via Getty Images

14/29

A satellite image shows the Milan Duomo before the coronavirus in Milan, Italy

via Reuters

15/29

A satellite image shows the Milan Duomo during the coronavirus in Milan, Italy

via Reuters

16/29

A general view of PIazza Duomo

Getty Images

17/29

Two girls pose in Piazza Duomo holding signs dedicated to March 8th women’s day

Getty Images

18/29

The Navigli district of Milan, one of the area of night life in Milan, is almost deserted after most bars were closed by the last decisions of the government trying to face the coronavirus emergency

AP

19/29

Cars cross the Italian – Swiss border at the Ponte Chiasso customs post between Como and Chiasso, north of Milan

AFP via Getty Images

20/29

The Serie A soccer match between Inter Milan and Juventus at the Allianz Stadium in Turin, Italy. The match was played to a closed stadium as a measure against coronavirus contagion

AP

21/29

Two foreign tourists talks to each other in a completely empty San Marco Square

Getty Images

22/29

A man looks at an emptY shelf at a supermarket in Milan, Italy

AP

23/29

A tourist pose for a picture in front of the empty Spanish Steps downtown Rome

AFP via Getty Images

24/29

Life inside a red zone: Carabinieri military police check documents of a man wearing a protective mask in a car at the checkpoint in San Fiorano

via Reuters

25/29

Life inside a red zone: A stop sign is seen on a blocked road in San Fiorano, on the 17th day of quarantine in one of the 11 small towns in northern Italy that has been on lockdown since February

via Reuters

26/29

A deserted cafeteria restaurant is pictured at a gas station and service area of the E70 – A21 highway in Stradella, south of Pavia, south-western Lombardy, in one of Italy’s quarantine red zones

AFP via Getty Images

27/29

An empty parking lot is pictured at a gas station and service area of the E70 – A21 highway in Stradella, south of Pavia, south-western Lombardy, in one of Italy’s quarantine red zones

AFP via Getty Images

28/29

A general view of Via Corsico

Getty Images

29/29

An empty road leading to Linate Airport in Milan

AFP via Getty Images

1/29

A deserted San Marco square

AFP via Getty Images

2/29

The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping mall in Milan was also deserted

AFP via Getty Images

3/29

Soldiers patrol past an empty restaurant in the Trastevere district of Rome

AFP via Getty Images

4/29

A general view of PIazza Duom

Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

5/29

Grand Canal is virtually deserted after a decree orders for the whole of Italy to be on lockdown in an unprecedented clampdown aimed at beating the coronavirus, in Venice, Ital

Reuters

6/29

A general view shows a deserted terminal at Milan-Malpensa airport in Ferno, northwest of Milan, in one of Italy’s quarantine red zones

AFP via Getty Images

7/29

Inmates stage a protest against new rules to cope with coronavirus emergency, including the suspension of relatives’ visits, on the roof of the San Vittore prison in Milan, Italy,

AP

8/29

The passenger information board in Terminal 5 departures at Heathrow Airport as British Airways has announced that it has cancelled all flights to and from Italy which were scheduled

PA

9/29

A view of a market amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Vintimiglia, Italy,

Reuters

10/29

Police officers and soldiers check passengers leaving from Milan main train station

AP

11/29

Faithful watch Pope Francis deliver the Angelus prayer on a giant screen, in St. Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, Sunday

AP

12/29

A couple kiss in Milano Centrale railway station in Milan on March 8, 2020

AFP via Getty Images

13/29

A man wearing a protective mask passes by the Coliseum in Rome

AFP via Getty Images

14/29

A satellite image shows the Milan Duomo before the coronavirus in Milan, Italy

via Reuters

15/29

A satellite image shows the Milan Duomo during the coronavirus in Milan, Italy

via Reuters

16/29

A general view of PIazza Duomo

Getty Images

17/29

Two girls pose in Piazza Duomo holding signs dedicated to March 8th women’s day

Getty Images

18/29

The Navigli district of Milan, one of the area of night life in Milan, is almost deserted after most bars were closed by the last decisions of the government trying to face the coronavirus emergency

AP

19/29

Cars cross the Italian – Swiss border at the Ponte Chiasso customs post between Como and Chiasso, north of Milan

AFP via Getty Images

20/29

The Serie A soccer match between Inter Milan and Juventus at the Allianz Stadium in Turin, Italy. The match was played to a closed stadium as a measure against coronavirus contagion

AP

21/29

Two foreign tourists talks to each other in a completely empty San Marco Square

Getty Images

22/29

A man looks at an emptY shelf at a supermarket in Milan, Italy

AP

23/29

A tourist pose for a picture in front of the empty Spanish Steps downtown Rome

AFP via Getty Images

24/29

Life inside a red zone: Carabinieri military police check documents of a man wearing a protective mask in a car at the checkpoint in San Fiorano

via Reuters

25/29

Life inside a red zone: A stop sign is seen on a blocked road in San Fiorano, on the 17th day of quarantine in one of the 11 small towns in northern Italy that has been on lockdown since February

via Reuters

26/29

A deserted cafeteria restaurant is pictured at a gas station and service area of the E70 – A21 highway in Stradella, south of Pavia, south-western Lombardy, in one of Italy’s quarantine red zones

AFP via Getty Images

27/29

An empty parking lot is pictured at a gas station and service area of the E70 – A21 highway in Stradella, south of Pavia, south-western Lombardy, in one of Italy’s quarantine red zones

AFP via Getty Images

28/29

A general view of Via Corsico

Getty Images

29/29

An empty road leading to Linate Airport in Milan

AFP via Getty Images

The governor of the southern region of Puglia said on Saturday the restrictions should remain in place until May.

Underscoring the dangers of the disease, the national doctors’ association announced the deaths of 11 more doctors on Monday, bringing the total to 61.

Not all of them had been tested for coronavirus before they died, it said, but it linked their deaths to the pandemic.

Lombardy, which contains Italy’s financial capital Milan, accounts for almost 60 per cent of the total deaths in Italy and some 40 per cent of cases.

Read more

Lombardy President Attilio Fontana said the unprecedented curbs on movement, gatherings and business activity were preventing an exponential rise in the number of cases, and needed to be kept in place.

“We’re on the right track, we’re maintaining a (chart) line that’s not uphill, but it’s not downhill either,” he said.

The head of the national health institute, Silvio Brusaferro, who is advising the government on how to handle the crisis, also said that for restrictions to be eased “the number of new cases has to fall significantly.”

“For sure the re-opening will happen gradually … we are even considering the British idea of ‘stop and go’, which envisages opening things for a certain amount of time and then closing them again,” he told the daily La Repubblica.

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