Italy’s worst-hit region of Lombardy has introduced stricter measures in a bid to tackle the spread of coronavirus.
Under the new rules announced on March 21, sport and physical activity outside, even individually, is banned. Using vending machines is forbidden.
The move comes as Italy reported nearly 800 coronavirus deaths on March 21 and saw its toll for the past month reach 4,825, the highest in the world.
Lombardy is the worst-affected region in the country with 3,095 deaths.
The region’s President Attilio Fontana announced the new measures in a statement.
Businesses have been asked to close all operations excluding “essential” supply chains. Work on building sites will be stopped apart from those working on hospitals, roads and railways.
All open-air weekly markets have been suspended.
Across Italy there have been 53,578 total cases to date, with about 6,000 people having recovered.
The region of Lombardy has been under a lockdown since March 8 and the government had hoped to see results there first.
On March 21, Italian PM Giuseppe Conte ordered the closure of all “non-essential” businesses in the country. However, the prime minister did not specify which businesses would be considered essential.
Supermarkets, pharmacies, post offices and banks will remain open and public transport will continue to run.
During a TV address to the nation, PM Conte said: “We will slow down the country’s productive engine, but we will not stop it.”
He described the situation as “the most difficult crisis in our post-war period”.
Despite the measures introduced so far, the number of new cases and deaths in Italy has continued to grow.
Meanwhile, Spain’s health ministry has reported a 32% spike in new deaths from Covid-19 with 1,326 confirmed deaths, the second highest in Europe after Italy.
In a news conference on March 21, PM Pedro Sánchez warned “the worst is yet to come” and that “very difficult days lay ahead”.
The Spanish government has issued a lockdown for some 46 million people who are only allowed to leave their homes for essential work, food shopping, medical reasons or to walk the dog.
Global cases pass 300,000 with more than 13,000 deaths around the world; 92,000 people have recovered.