Italy bans domestic travel, shutters industries in bid to slow virus deaths

ROME — Italy bans domestic travel and shuts down a range of industries today in a last-ditch push against the spread of a coronavirus that has killed nearly 5,500 people in a month.

The wave of restrictions is designed to ensure Italy gets through a 10-day stretch in which the rate of deaths and infections is supposed to finally drop.

“Everyone’s effort is needed,” Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte tells reporters.

“The country’s social and economic strength is at stake.”

Italian health officials reported that the rate of increase in both deaths and declared infections slowed yesterday — albeit from a high base.

There were 651 fatalities compared with Saturday’s record 793 deaths, while the number of new reported infections fell to 5,560 from 6,557.

But Conte tells Italians it is too early to let down their guard.

“We have not reached the most acute phase of the infection and the numbers will continue to grow,” he says.

“Much depends on the responsible behavior of each one of us.”


An undertaker wearing protective gear removes a coffin from a hearse on March 16, 2020, at the Monumental cemetery of Bergamo, Lombardy, as burials of people who died of the new coronavirus are being conducted every half an hour. (Piero Cruciatti/AFP)

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