Covid-19: Italy shuts discos and orders mask wearing at night

Italy shuts discos and orders mask wearing in crowded public places from 18.00 until 06.00 amid a rise in the number of covid-19 cases.

The Italian government has ordered the closure of all night clubs across Italy and has made the wearing of masks obligatory at night in crowded public places, as the country continues to experience a rise in covid-19 cases.

The nationwide order, signed by health minister Roberto Speranza yesterday evening, takes effect from today, 17 August, and will remain in force until 7 September.

Masks must now be worn in public areas where social distancing is not possible between 18.00 and 06.00, while the order closing discos also applies to outdoor dancing venues such as beaches.

The government has promised economic support for the night club industry which cites losses of €4 billion.

"We cannot throw away the sacrifices made in the past months" - said Speranza - "Our priority must be to reopen schools in complete safety in September".

The order comes into effect as Italy recorded 479 new coronavirus cases over 24 hours on 16 August, down from 629 the day before - Italy's highest daily caseload of new infections since May.

The government's new measures were announced the same day that covid-19 testing was introduced at Rome's airports for travellers returning to Italy from Croatia, Greece, Malta and Spain, amid a rising number of infections elsewhere in Europe.

The measures also coincided with the resumption of the cruise ship industry on 16 August, with Italy's first Mediterranean cruise setting sail since the country entered lockdown.

The MSC Grandiosa departed from Genoa after all passengers had their temperatures checked and took covid-19 tests.