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Covid-19 News: Conte Italia bets could slow down virus with targeted restrictions




Giuseppe Conte

Photo: Francisco Seco / AFP via Getty Images

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Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte kept up the pressure to impose radical restrictions on Italy, betting that his government could slow the spread of the coronavirus and protect the economy with more targeted measures.

The prime minister signed a new decree Sunday night – just five days after an earlier package – urging mayors to close piazzas and streets at 9am to stop crowds and impose a maximum of six people at tables in restaurants which must be closed at midnight. Amateur and school competitions for contact sports are prohibited.

“We must act, using all necessary measures to avoid a new generalized stalemate,” Conte told a televised news conference. “The country can not withstand a new backlog which would seriously endanger the entire economy.”

Conte has been under pressure from coalition partners, regional leaders and medical advisers to take action after seeing the number of daily infections rise in recent weeks, albeit at a slower pace than in France and the UK. record 11,705 new infections on Sunday, compared to 10,925 on Saturday.

Economic risk

The government’s priority is to protect as much as possible of an economy that was crippled by a long and severe stalemate in the spring, according to a government official who refused to be named in accordance with the policy. The administration also aims to keep schools open to help work for parents, the official said.

“The third quarter that has just ended signals a strong recovery for our country, better than France, Germany and Spain,” Conte said.

Government ministers, including health chief Roberto Speranza, had lobbied Conte for more home education for high schools and tougher restrictions on nightlife with early closures to bars and restaurants, the official said.

The new rules include a ban on conferences and ordering the premises to close at 6pm if customers are not served at the table. Betting shops and game halls will have to close at 21:00

Italy tightens measures to fight pandemic resurgence

Pedestrians with face masks cross near the Duomo Cathedral square in Milan, Italy, on October 8.

Photo: Camilla Cerea / Bloomberg

By maintaining an obligation to wear protective masks inside and out, in addition to isolated areas, the government requires an increase in distance work. Speranza told regional leaders during talks Saturday that remote work must be held accountable until 75% of the total, according to a government official.

The new rules ban school closures, with Education Minister Lucia Azzolina arguing that students are more at risk of infection wandering through shopping malls than attending school. In the Naples area, the regional governor has ordered all schools to be closed by the end of the month to slow the escalation of infections.

‘Critical situation’

Lombardy, home to the original outbreak of the virus in Italy, is facing a “critical situation” with more patients in intensive care units. Milan and its nearby municipalities are the hardest hit and its hospital could face pressure from growing infections, said Walter Bergamaschi, the northern city health tsar.

A cabinet meeting hosted by Conte approved aBudget 2021 in the early hours of Sunday which seeks to support the economy, focusing on the health sector, supporting families extending a moratorium on loans and mortgage payments. The budget, which is due to be approved by parliament by the end of the year, sets aside 4 billion euros ($ 4.7 billion) to support the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic.

The government said in itthe budget forecast that in a worse scenario gross domestic product could fall 10.5% this year and expand only 1.8% in 2021. The current administration forecast is for a 9% contraction this year and a 6% increase in 2021. Rome is set to receive the bulk of a European Union package in grants and loans, up to 209 billion euros.

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