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Italy to impose lockdown during Christmas, New Year amid coronavirus fears

A busy street in central Rome on Sunday. — AFP/Files

Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced to impose a nation-wide strict lockdown under new restrictions over the Christmas and New Year periods.

"Our experts fear that the infection curve will increase during the Christmas period," Conte said as Italy is one of the countries worst hit by COVID-19.

Under the new measures, shops, bars and restaurants will be closed and travel between regions will be banned, and in theory only one daily outside trip per household will be permitted.

Religious celebrations will be allowed until 10:00 pm.

The prime minister conceded that the authorities had neither the means nor the will to monitor compliance with containment measures, but he asked Italians to respect a new limit of people hosting two adult guests at home.

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Food shops, hairdressing salons, pharmacies, tobacconists and laundries as well as bookstores will, however, remain open.

Conte specified that the confinement would be relaxed on December 28, 29, 30 as well as on January 4.

On these days, shops can remain open until 9:00 pm and people will be allowed to move about freely.

Italy has 60 million inhabitants and one of the oldest populations in Europe.


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