Italy bans all domestic travel as virus claims more lives

World Monday 23/March/2020 17:48 PM
By: Times News Service
Italy bans all domestic travel as virus claims more lives

Rome: Italy's interior and health ministries issued Sunday a joint ordinance banning all domestic travel as the coronavirus epidemic continued to advance in the country.

"Beginning today, throughout the national territory it is forbidden for individuals to travel, whether by public or private transportation, to a municipality that is different from the one in which they find themselves in," said the ordinance.

"The sole exceptions: provable work reasons or reasons of absolute health emergency," it said, adding that the new measure will be in place "until a new decree is issued by the Prime Minister."

Speaking at a nightly televised press conference, Civil Protection Department Chief Angelo Borrelli confirmed that 46,638 people have tested actively positive for the coronavirus and 5,476 have died from the epidemic.

Of those infected, 23,783 are in isolation at home, 19,846 are hospitalized and 3,009 are in intensive care, he said, adding that a total of 7,024 patients have recovered.

The numbers are up from an official tally on Saturday evening of 42,681 active infections, 4,825 deaths, and 6,072 recoveries.

The sum of infections, deaths and recoveries in Italy now stands at 59,138, up from 53,578 of Saturday, according to the Health Ministry.

Borrelli also confirmed that 12 Civil Protection staff members have tested positive for the virus.

The new joint ordinance from the interior and health ministries comes after some Italians tried to duck the government's so-called "Stay Home Decree" issued earlier this month, which forbids all unnecessary movement outside the home in a bid to contain the spread of the virus.

The Interior Ministry on Sunday revealed that police on Saturday checked almost 210,000 people across Italy and reported over 11,000 of them for violating the Stay Home Decree.

In related news, officials in Calabria took action to isolate the southern region. The neighboring Basilicata region followed suit, with Governor Vito Bardi issuing a similar decree in a bid "to reduce COVID-19 infection."

Also on Sunday, the Ministry of Health published a special message of thanks to the more than 100,000 Civil Protection Department and Red Cross volunteers.

On the European relations front, President Sergio Mattarella wrote to German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to thank him for "the dispatch from Germany to Italy of medical supplies" and calling it "a sign of the deep friendship that links our two countries."

Italy declared a six-month state of emergency due to the coronavirus on Jan. 31, following it up with a nationwide lockdown that went into effect on March 10 through April 3.