Italy announces Christmas and New Year lockdown
- 19 December 2020
Italy has ordered a nationwide lockdown over much of the Christmas and New Year period in an effort to combat a rise in coronavirus cases, APA reports citing BBC.
The country will be under "red-zone" restrictions over the public holidays, with non-essential shops, restaurants and bars closed, and Italians only allowed to travel for work, health and emergency reasons.
Limited home visits will be allowed.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said it was "not an easy decision".
"Our experts were seriously worried that there would be a jump in cases over Christmas... We therefore had to act," he said in a news conference.
Italy has recorded the highest Covid death toll in Europe, with close to 68,000 fatalities.
Mr Conte said the launch of the vaccination drive later this month would mark the beginning of "the end of this nightmare."
The announcement of the Christmas restrictions on Friday followed days of wrangling in the governing coalition between those wanting a complete lockdown and others seeking limited action to help struggling businesses and allow families to meet.
Meanwhile in France, President Emmanuel Macron remains in self-isolation in the official presidential residence at La Lanterne at Versailles after testing positive for Covid-19. Mr Macron said he was suffering from fatigue, headaches and a dry cough.