Coronavirus: Italy extends ‘red zones’ as infections soar

Publishedduration15 hours agoRelated Topics

  • Coronavirus pandemic

image copyrightEPAimage captionStaff at this hospital in Naples treated waiting patients in their cars because the wards were overwhelmed

Italy has added more regions to its coronavirus high-risk "red zones" as cases across the country hit a new daily record.

Campania and Tuscany will join other regions placed under the strictest lockdown measures from Sunday.

Authorities in Campania, which includes Naples, have warned that the health system there is close to collapse.

Friday's announcement came as Italy confirmed 40,902 new infections – its highest ever daily total.

It passed the one million mark earlier this week and there have been more than 44,000 deaths.

The government's coronavirus consultant, Walter Ricciardi, told reporters that the country has "two to three weeks to decide whether to impose a new national lockdown".

Earlier this year Italy became the epicentre of the pandemic in Europe but brought its outbreak under control with a tough national lockdown. Restrictions were gradually lifted as cases eased but last week – faced with a second wave of infections, it introduced new measures.

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Regions are divided into three zones – red for the highest risk, then orange and yellow. In the red zone at the moment are Lombardy, Bolzano, Piedmont and Aosta Valley in the north, and Calabria in the south.

In these areas, which cover about 16.5 million people in a population of 60 million, residents can only leave home for work, health reasons, essential shopping or emergencies. All non-essential shops are closed.

Bars and restaurants are also shut but people can exercise near their homes if they wear masks. Hairdressers can remain open.