Covid-19: Italy imposes curfew as nation divided into risk zones

Italy intensifies measures to tackle the coronavirus crisis by introducing a three-tier system of red, orange and yellow zones.

Italy has imposed a nationwide nightly curfew from 22.00 until 05.00, among other restrictions including local lockdowns, as part of a new emergency decree designed to curb the spread of covid-19.

The decree, signed by premier Giuseppe Conte late last night and effective from 5 November until 3 December, will divide Italy into three areas: red (high-risk), orange (intermediate risk) and yellow (safer) zones.

Various measures will apply to each zone, with local lockdowns reserved for red zones where people will be prohibited from entering or leaving, unless for reasons of work, health or taking children to school. 

The government is expected to outline the various red, orange and green areas in the coming hours, however the Italian media is reporting that the red zones will likely be in Lombardia (Milan), Piemonte (Turin) and Calabria in the south.

In red zones, bars, pubs, restaurants and most shops will be ordered to close. Food shops, pharmacies and hairdressers will be allowed to remain open.

Conte has said repeatedly that he wants to avoid a new national lockdown that would further damage the fragile economy.

Nationwide curfew

The decree states that between the hours of 22.00 and 05.00 the only travel permitted is for "proven work needs, situations of necessity or health reasons."

It is also "strongly recommended" that people avoid travelling during the day - either by public or private transport - except for work, study, health or other reasons deemed necessary.

Here is the curfew form you need to complete to leave your house between 22.00 and 05.00.

What are the main points in Italy's new decree?

  • In addition to the curfew, the nationwide measures in the new decree make distance learning mandatory for high-school students. Masks will be obligatory for elementary and middle-school students even while seated at their desks.
  • The maximum capacity of local public transport will be set at 50 per cent.
  • Museums and exhibitions will close completely. 
  • Shopping malls will close at weekends and on public holidays.
  • Smart working will be promoted to maximum levels.

The new measures follow the government's most recent decree, announced 24 October, ordering the evening closure of bars and restaurants and the complete closure of gyms, theatres and cinemas.

The latest decree was signed hours after Italy registered 28,244 new coronavirus infections on 3 November, up from 22,253 the day before, according to data released by the health ministry.

Italy also registered 353 covid-related deaths on 3 November, the highest daily figure since 6 May and up from 233 the day before.