Italy faces new restrictions as covid-19 cases rise

Italy's covid-19 numbers reach highest daily count since 24 April.

Italy faces new restrictions amid a continuing rise in covid-19 cases in recent days, reports Italian news agency ANSA.

On 3 October Italy registered 2,844 new infections, up from 2,499 cases the day before, after carrying out 118,932 swab tests, about 1,300 fewer compared to the previous day.

There were 27 coronavirus-related deaths recorded in Italy on 3 October, up from 23 casualties the day before.

Italy's latest daily covid-19 figures are the highest since 24 April, a fact that worries President Sergio Mattarella who said yesterday that he "cannot keep quiet over concerns regarding the pace of contagions."

Italian premier Giuseppe Conte is due to hold talks with government ministers on 5 October to discuss measures to tackle covid-19, as part of a new emergency decree expected on 7 October, reports Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

Among the new measures reportedly being discussed are "mini" localised lockdowns, the nationwide obligation to wear masks outdoors, and a week-long media campaign to promote the Immuni contact-tracing app, writes Italian newspaper La Stampa.

ANSA reports that the military could be employed to help ensure that people respect the rules.

Other potential measures being reported by Italian media include the early closure of bars, pubs and restaurants - possibly at 22.00 or 23.00 - and heavy fines for those who fail to wear masks in public - from €500 to €3,000, according to Corriere della Sera.

New restrictions could also affect cinemas, theatres and gyms, as well as hairdressers and beauty salons, reports Rome daily newspaper Il Messaggero.

Conte has already announced his intention to extend until 31 January 2021 Italy's current state of emergency, which grants special powers to national and regional authorities in tackling the fallout from the covid-19 crisis quickly.

One of the government's main objectives will be to keep the nation's schools open after students returned to classrooms in recent weeks, following a closure of six months.

Italy recently received praise from the World Health Organization (WHO) for its response, by the government and the Italian public, to the coronavirus pandemic.

For information about the covid-19 situation in Italy see health ministry website.

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