Italy locks down financial capital Milan and much of industrial north

FILE PHOTO: People wearing protective face masks walk at a shopping mall ahead of weekend closure of shopping centres, a measure imposed by the Lombardy region to curb the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections, in Milan, Italy, October 23, 2020. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s latest restrictions to try to rein in the coronavirus include a partial lockdown of its richest and most populous region Lombardy around the financial capital Milan, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Wednesday.

Earlier, the government published its new package of measures which toughen up nationwide curbs and divide the country into three zones – red, orange and yellow, according to the intensity of the epidemic.

The zoning depends on a raft of factors including local infection rates and hospital occupancy, with restrictions will calibrated accordingly.

In the critically affected red zones people will only be allowed to leave their homes for work, health reasons or emergencies and bars, restaurants and most shops will be closed.

However, unlike Italy’s national lockdown in the spring, all factories will remain open.

Speaking at a news conference to illustrate the package which comes into effect on Friday, Conte said the red zones would comprise the large northern regions of Lombardy and neighbouring Piedmont, along with Calabria in Italy’s southern toe and the tiny alpine region of Valle D’Aosta.

Lombardy accounts for around a sixth of Italy’s population and more than a fifth of its gross domestic product.

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