Italy has ordered a nationwide lockdown which will stretch to the Christmas and New Year`s holidays.The measure which the Italian President announced as part of efforts to combat a rise in coronavirus cases.
The move will see non-essential shops, restaurants and bars closed, and Italians only allowed to travel for work, health and emergency reasons.
Residential visits will also be limited.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said it was “not an easy decision”.
“Our experts were seriously worried that there would be a jump in cases over Christmas… We therefore had to act,” he said in a news conference.
Italy has recorded the highest Covid death toll in Europe, with close to 68,000 fatalities.
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Mr Conte said the launch of the vaccination drive later this month would mark the beginning of “the end of this nightmare.”
The announcement of the Christmas restrictions on Friday followed days of wrangling in the governing coalition between those wanting a complete lockdown and others seeking limited action to help struggling businesses and allow families to meet.
Meanwhile in France , President Emmanuel Macron remains in self-isolation in the official presidential residence at La Lanterne at Versailles after testing positive for Covid-19. Mr Macron said he was suffering fro