Closed 4 Italian regions including Milan

Closed 4 Italian regions including Milan

Rome (AP) — Four provinces in Italy are in “hazardous zones” blockades and severe restrictions have been placed on the circumstances in which people can leave their homes, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced Wednesday night.

What he calls “very strict” restrictions begins on Friday in Lombardy, Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta in the north and Calabria, which forms the southern toe of the Italian peninsula.

The closure is aimed at curbing the surge in COVID-19 infection and preventing hospitals from overwhelming with cases. It will include about 16.5 million of the 60 million people living in Italy for at least two weeks and Milan, Italy’s financial capital.

No one is allowed to leave or enter the “hazardous zone” area unless there are few exceptions. You should stay at home unless you are going to work or buying necessities. You can also exercise near your home and wearing a mask.

After several days of consultation with the regional governor, Health Minister Roberto Speranza decided which regions were designated as “Red Zones.”

“I know these choices mean sacrifice and hardship, but that’s the only way to bend the (contagion) curve,” he said in a statement. “Alliance, we can.”

Barbers and hairdressers can remain open, but other non-essential stores in the “red zone” must be closed.

Less strict mobility restrictions have been set for southern Sicily and Puglia, where people can leave their homes, but cannot move between towns or regions, and cafes and restaurants can only take out and deliver.

Classrooms are open in the rest of Italy, with the exception of high schools that require distance education, but in the “red zone” only nursery, primary and junior high school grades will still receive instruction during class.

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The recent crackdown was due to start on Thursday, but Conte said it would start on Friday to allow time to organize. Designations are reviewed every two weeks.

He added that previously announced national measures, such as the closure of the museum and the night curfew, would also commence on Friday, a day later, and last until December 3.

Conte pledged later this week that his center-left government would approve more funding to help businesses crippled by the recent shutdown.

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Follow AP Pandemic Reports at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak.

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