Italy has tightened its lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic and has started to fine and arrest citizens who violate the restriction of movement.
Euronews spoke to Lea Quartapelle (Democratic party), a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies. She said the government suggests people go on leave or take vacation days off, or switch to working from home.
“We’ve seen too many people still going around,” she pointed out. “People have to stay at home. This message has been made clear,” Qartapelle notes.
“It is difficult in a democratic country to stop doing whatever you are doing to renounce your freedom.”
She added that the closure of non-essential shops should make it easier for people to determine, which of their outdoor activities are indeed essential.
Italy has ordered all shops to close except for newsstands, pharmacies and grocery stores.
Quartapelle admitted that it is “complicated” to enforce the rules, and said people have been arrested, citing the example of two friends from Rome and Milan who had met up in Sicily. Moreover, people have been arrested on their way to the airport in a red zone. They had intended to go on a vacation in Spain.
Euronews reporter Alession Dell’Anna is on lockdown in Milan. He said it is a “proper quarantine.” “We can’t go out for walks. We cannot go out for a run in the park,” he said.
Citizens who are out on the streets have to carry a document that states why and where they are going.
World Health Organization declares COVID-10 a pandemic
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has declared the COVID-19 virus a pandemic and urged countries across the world to find, isolate, test and treat every case.
“We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear,” he said, noting that there were now more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, with 4,291 deaths reported.
“Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It’s a word that if misused can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over,” Dr Tedros said at a press conference in Switzerland.
The declaration “doesn’t change what countries should do” to aggressively contain the virus, he said, adding that the UN health agency was “deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity”.
“I have said from the beginning that countries must take a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach, built around a comprehensive strategy to prevent infections, save lives and minimise impact,” Dr Tedros said.
“All countries must strike a fine balance between protecting health, minimizing economic and social disruption and respecting human rights.”
“Thousands more are fighting for their lives in hospitals.
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) March 11, 2020
Trump limits all travel from Schengen area for 30 days
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced he is sharply restricting passenger travel from 26 European nations to the U.S.
Trump, in a rare Oval Office address to the nation, said the month-long restriction on travel would begin late Friday, at midnight. After days of playing down the coronavirus threat, he blamed Europe for not acting quickly enough to address the “foreign virus” and claimed that U.S. clusters were “seeded” by European travellers.
“We made a lifesaving move with early action on China,” Trump said. “Now we must take the same action with Europe.”
Trump said the restrictions won’t apply to the United Kingdom, and there would be exemptions for “Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings.” He said the U.S. would monitor the situation to determine if travel could be reopened earlier.
Moreover, the restriction does not apply to legal permanent residents of the U.S. or their families when they are returning from Europe. It also does not apply to U.S. citizens coming back from Europe, as Trump acknowledged.
The travel ban also does not apply to Ireland, Romania, Croatia, Ukraine and several other European states. The proclamation released by the White House says the travel ban will affect the 26 European states in what’s known as the Schengen Area. That’s most of Europe, but not “all.”