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Italy tightens lockdown rules amid soaring death toll

Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte

Pic: Facebook


In an unexpected announcement made via Facebook, Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte said late on Saturday evening that all commercial activities in the country would be shut down - unless they performed an "essential" role for the country in its battle against the spread of coronavirus.

With his declaration, he further tightened what is the most dramatic peacetime lockdown in recent history.

Conte himself called the current crisis in Italy "the country's most difficult since the end of World War II."

He said that supermarkets and pharmacies would remain open, and banking and vital transport services would still be available, but that all non-essential commercial activities would be prohibited.

That amounts to a near-total shutdown of the Italian economy, with factories and offices that had been able to operate in some limited capacity no longer operating.

The announcement came hours after Italian civil defence officials in Rome revealed that COVID-19 had claimed 793 more lives in Italy over the previous 24 hours.

The number of active cases of the infection in the country rose to nearly 43,000.

- African News Agency