Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 22 October 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Italian centre of Europe's coronavirus outbreak imposes new restrictions

Northern Lombardy region accounted for more than a fifth of the 10,000 new cases Italy reported on Friday

Italy’s Lombardy region, which in February became the initial centre of Europe's Covid-19 outbreak, issued new restrictions as it struggles to contain a surge in cases.

All amateur sporting events have been postponed in the northern region, Italy’s most populous.

Bars have to shut at midnight and will only be able to serve customers seated at tables after 6pm.

The consumption of food and alcohol has also been banned in outside areas to prevent people from gathering.

The measures will remain in place until November 6.

Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will announce new measures on Sunday to counter the surge in cases.

Last Friday, Italy announced 10,000 new cases for the previous 24 hours, more than 2,000 of them reported in Lombardy.

The region's government called for schools to adopt a hybrid system, alternating between online and in-person teaching.

Hospitals are also under strain and intensive care beds are close to being fully occupied.

Italy's other hard-hit region of Campania, in the south, also put restrictive measures in place, including shutting schools for two weeks.

The country has the second-highest death toll in Europe after the UK, with more than 36,000 confirmed fatalities.

Cities across Europe are introducing new restrictions to combat a second wave of infections.

A 9pm-6am curfew in Paris and eight other French cities began on Saturday, a day after France reported more than 30,000 new cases.

In London, people are barred from mixing with others from different households, while tougher measures are in place in Liverpool in north-west England.

About 12,000 extra police officers have been sent across the country to enforce the measures. The UK’s official Covid-19 death toll is 43,579.

German leader Angela Merkel called for her country, which has not been hit as hard as other major European nations, to pull together after a record new 7,830 cases were reported overnight.

“Difficult months are before us,” she said. “How winter will be, how our Christmas will be, that will all be decided in these coming days and weeks, and it will be decided by our behaviour.”

Germany has registered more than 361,000 coronavirus cases and about 9,850 deaths.

Updated: October 18, 2020 04:08 PM

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