Italy considers new 'red zone' lockdowns to curb covid-19 rise

Italian government considers local lockdowns in coronavirus hot spots.

The Italian government is considering new restrictions, including provincial lockdowns and limiting travel between regions, in an attempt to curb the spread of covid-19.

Premier Giuseppe Conte will hold further talks today, Sunday 1 November, with the technical scientific committee (CTS) advising the government, before presenting the proposed new restrictions in parliament tomorrow.

The 'red zone' lockdowns are expected to be at a provincial level, rather than national or regional, reports Italian news agency ANSA, and would affect metropolitan areas with the highest rises in new covid-19 infections.

The government is also reportedly considering setting up 'covid hotels' to host people who do not have space at home to isolate and risk infecting family members, ANSA reports.

Other measures on the table include the possibility of distance learning for all terza media high-school students, according to reports in Italian media.

"We must stop the contagion curve which, unfortunately, continues to grow right now. If necessary, we will evaluate two- or three-week closures for those areas that present more worrying numbers these days," stated the deputy transport minister, Giancarlo Cancelleri, according to ANSA.

However the CTS is also believed to have stressed the need to wait a few more days to see the effects of Conte's decree of 24 October, which ordered the 18.00 closure of bars and restaurants and the complete closure of cinemas, theatres, gyms and swimming pools.

The latest emergency talks come as Italy registered 31,758 new covid-19 cases over the previous 24 hours on Saturday 31 October, a new daily record, with 297 coronavirus-related deaths.

Over the last week there has been a wave of demonstrations across Italy by citizens who say they have not received adequate or any financial assistance from the government and now face bankruptcy. 

However a number of these peaceful protests have been hijacked by "fringe elements" intent on causing trouble - according to the interior ministry - with violence flaring in Rome, Milan, Turin, Florence and Naples in recent days.

Photo credit: Martin Gstoehl / Shutterstock.com.