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Covid-19 in Italy: We won't send police to check on house parties, says Conte

Italy imposes fresh restrictions as the nation registers almost 6,000 new covid-19 cases in a single day.

Italy's premier Giuseppe Conte has stated that police will not be sent to check on private parties in the home, amid controversy over the government's new restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of covid-19.

The new rules, which are valid for 30 days, include the "strong recommendation" that people do not receive more than six people they do not usually live with at home, with the firm advice that protective face masks be worn at such gatherings.

The 'house party' rule has sparked a backlash in Italy, with claims that the government is unjustifiably attempting to control people’s behaviour in their own homes.

Conte intervened after health minister Roberto Speranza inflamed the contentious issue on the television show Che Tempo che Fa by saying that he trusted in citizens to notify the authorities of any violation of the rules.

Speranza's remarks caused a storm of protest on social media and among opposition politicians, with Fratelli d'Italia leader Giorgia Meloni likening it to the Stasi of East Germany, and Lega leader Matteo Salvini asking whether officers would be transformed into Orwell's Thought Police, inviting his followers to "re-read" 1984.

Speaking to reporters at Palazzo Chigi yesterday afternoon, Conte sought to calm the situation, calling for collective responsibility to "face this new phase" together.

"The goal is to avoid a generalised lockdown and protect the economy" as well as health, said Conte who added: "The economy is starting to move fast again.”

Conte's remarks came as Italy registered 5,901 new cases of covid-19 in a single day, a sharp jump from the 4,619 new cases the day before, and the highest daily caseload since 28 March during the nationwide lockdown.

However the 41 coronavirus-related deaths on 13 October is far below the peaks of over 900 fatalities at the height of Italy’s epidemic in late March and early April.

Italy's latest emergency decree states that bars and restaurants can remain open for table service until midnight but cannot serve people standing up, inside or outside the premises, after 21.00.

The decree bans parties in public with the exception of ceremonies such as weddings and baptisms which can be attended by a maximum of 30 people.

The playing of soccer and other contact sports at amateur level is banned unless they are organised by officially-recognised sporting bodies and meet the national covid-19 safety protocols.

The number of spectators permitted into sports stadiums has been limited to a maximum of 1,000 outside and 200 inside.

All school excursions and exchange visits have been stopped, however Conte has ruled out a return to distance learningm saying yesterday that the overall situation in schools is "quite good."

Photo Sky TG24

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