March 8, 2020 / 9:20 AM / 22 days ago

FACTBOX-Italy orders shutdown in northern areas to contain coronavirus

March 8 (Reuters) - Italy has imposed a virtual lockdown across a wide swathe of its wealthy north, including the financial capital Milan, in its latest attempt to contain a growing outbreak of coronavirus.

Here is a summary of the main points of the 13-page decree, which builds on and tightens various other measures introduced since Feb. 22. All the new rules are valid until April 3.

THE AFFECTED AREAS

The region of Lombardy and the provinces of Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, Rimini, Pesaro, Urbino, Alessandria, Asti, Novara, Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, Vercelli, Padua, Treviso and Venice. It is estimated that these areas have a combined population of some 16 million people.

MOVEMENTS

The decree says people should “avoid any movement in and out” of the above territories and also any trips within this area, barring journeys “for proven work needs or situations of necessity for health reasons”. Anyone in quarantine because they have coronavirus is forbidden from leaving home.

The decree does not mention the transport of goods in and out of these areas and does not say how the rules will be enforced.

GATHERINGS BANNED

All events organised in the private or public sector, from culture to sport, from religious activities to fairs, are suspended. Cinemas, museums, theatres, pubs, dance schools, betting shops and discos must all close. Ski stations must close. Civil and religious ceremonies are suspended, including funerals. Schools and universities remain shuttered. Specialist health training is not be suspended.

RESTAURANTS

Bars and restaurants can only open from 6.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. (0500-1700 GMT) and only on condition they can guarantee customers are at least one metre (one yard) apart. Businesses will be suspended if the rules are not respected.

SHOPS

Shops can remain open but only if they can guarantee the one-metre safety distance for customers. Big and mid-sized shopping centres have to close at the weekend.

SPORTS

All sporting events and competitions are suspended, with the exception of professional events, so long as they take place behind closed doors and under medical supervision. Gyms, sports centres, swimming pools, spas and leisure centres must close.

HEALTH SECTOR

Leave for health workers is cancelled. Those accompanying patients to A&E units are not allowed to stay with them in the waiting rooms without specific permission.

Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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