COVID-19 quarantine restrictions in Italy have been extended to the entire country, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte explained in a televised press conference on Monday.
The new measures are to combat and contain the increasing number of confirmed cases of coronavirus across the nation.
As of right now, Italy has the most substantial amount of coronavirus fatalities outside of China, with 366 deaths, according to the most recent World Health Organization (WHO) Situation Report.
“We’re encouraged that Italy is taking aggressive measures to contain its epidemic, and we hope that those measures prove effective in the coming days,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a briefing on Monday.
Conte explained in the press conference that all public gatherings were to be banned and that only essential travel for work, health reasons, or family emergencies would be permitted.
The new measures will fully come into effect on Tuesday, March 10.
The strict ruling comes as a means of defending the most vulnerable populations in the country.
“Now, we must all give up something for the good of Italy. When I speak of Italy, I speak of our loved ones, of our parents, [and] of our grandparents,” Conte explained.
“We have to do it now, and we will only succeed if everyone will cooperate and adapt immediately to these more stringent rules.”
On Sunday, the government announced that Prime Minister Conte had established the creation of a single area that will receive reinforced measures to contain the spread of coronavirus. The area would comprise the Lombardy Region as well as 14 other provinces (five from Piedmont, five from Emilia-Romagna, three from Veneto, and one from the Marche).
Now, the ruling has extended to the entire peninsula.
“We are forced to impose sacrifices with regards to other interests that are worthy of protection,” Conte stated in the press conference.
“There will be no more ‘red zone.’ There will no longer be zone 1 and zone 2 of the peninsula there. Italy will be a protected area.”
The new measures also come with a ban on social gatherings in outdoor spaces open to the public.
“We all have a great responsibility to you as citizens,” Conte continued.
“Our future of Italy is in our hands, and these hands must be responsible hands today more than ever.”