Using vending machines, physical exercise outside banned in Italy’s worst-hit region

By BBC On Sun, 22 Mar, 2020 10:30 | < 1 min read
Most of the deaths in Italy are still in the north, whose world-class health care system is under tremendous strain. PHOTO | PAOLO MIRANDA | AFP

The Italian region of Lombardy has introduced stricter measures in a bid to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

Under the new rules announced late on Saturday, sport and physical activity outside, even individually, is banned. Using vending machines is forbidden.

The move comes as Italy reported nearly 800 coronavirus deaths on Saturday and saw its toll for the past month reach 4,825, the highest in the world.

Lombardy is the worst-affected region in the country with 3,095 deaths.

The region’s President Attilio Fontana announced the new measures in a statement.

Businesses have been asked to close all operations excluding “essential” supply chains. Work on building sites will be stopped apart from those working on hospitals, roads and railways.

All open-air weekly markets have been suspended.

Across Italy there have been 53,578 total cases to date, with about 6,000 people having recovered.

Lombardy has been under a lockdown since 8 March and the government had hoped to see results there first.

On Saturday, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte ordered the closure of all “non-essential” businesses in the country. However he did not specify which businesses would be considered essential.

Supermarkets, pharmacies, post offices and banks will remain open and public transport will continue to run.

During a television address to the nation, he said: “We will slow down the country’s productive engine, but we will not stop it.”

Mr. Conte described the situation as “the most difficult crisis in our post-war period”.

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