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Our coverage on COVID‑19

Italy is now in total lockdown as COVID-19 death toll spikes

With a total of 9,172 confirmed cases of COVID-19, Italy is set to do everything it takes to stop the rapid spreading of the virus and the rising number of deaths. With a population of over 60 million, the whole country is on lockdown. Individuals can travel from one place to another if it is pertaining to work or any other pertinent reason, but besides that, they will not be allowed to travel far, unless presented with a valid reason or only upon requesting permission from authorities. It is also important to note that according to euronews, airports across Italy are functioning.

Italy is the only country amidst the COVID-19 outbreak to be on a nationwide lockdown. China also went on lockdown that stemmed up to 4 provinces and 50 cities. However, the South China Morning Post commented on the Italian lockdown as “nowhere near as extensive” in comparison to China’s lockdown and also suggested that the extent of cooperation from Italian citizens towards this lockdown remains unclear.

At the moment, Italy is the second most affected country after China. The reason why Italy is introducing such stringent laws is because of a spike in the number of deaths due to COVID-19. Within the span of a day on Monday, March 9th, 97 people had died which put the total number of deaths at 463.

The lockdown was not the only measure that has been implemented by the country. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that it is extremely pivotal for individuals to avoid any sort of outdoor gatherings as this would be a conducive environment for the virus to spread. In addition, schools and universities are closed for now until April 3 or until the situation is manageable. They have also cancelled all events related to sports, meanwhile, restaurants and other shops are only allowed to be operating until 6 in the evening. The Serie A soccer match was previously ordered to be played ‘behind closed doors’ – which means, no fans were allowed in the stadium. This was then eventually cancelled until predicaments improve. For people visiting restaurants, they must keep a distance of at least 1 metre from one another. It is also important to note that with all these new and crucial developments, nightlife is an absolute no-no in Italy right now.

These restrictions have resulted in some people being extremely upset. An example of this is prison inmates who are not allowed visiting slots to see their loved ones amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. Upon hearing the news of the lockdown, inmates from all over the nation have started rioting and seven of them have died.

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Despite these drastic efforts to contain this epidemic, public transport will remain available to those who need it across the country. Meanwhile, on the local front, Malaysia has recorded a total of 117 cases as of March 9th. This is a steep increase from just 36 total cases one week ago. There is also a travel advisory in place by the health ministry for people travelling to Italy. Meanwhile, Malaysia just appointed a new health minister, Dr Adham Baba and hopefully, everything can get right back on track.