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Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced on Monday that measures to block coronaviruses are to be extended to the entire country and that travel should be limited to work, health and emergencies.
The measures would take place on Tuesday and last until April 3, he said.
Public transport would continue, Conte said, to enable people to work. But people would have to explain why they were traveling, and movements and gatherings outside of the allowed would not be allowed. Schools and universities will also remain closed as part of the measures.
The motto is that people should stay at home, said Conte.
The Prime Minister also announced that all sporting events, including Serie A, the country's top football league, have been suspended.
The national ban extends measures that were previously only carried out in the north of the country. Fatal prison riots took place due to new restrictions on family member visits.
Peter Aldhous / BuzzFeed News
Total number of cases and deaths by country
"Milan continues," the mayor of the Italian fashion and finance capital tweeted defiantly eleven days ago. Despite the burgeoning coronavirus outbreak, Beppe Sala's tweet contained a video that shows people hugging, eating out, sitting in movie theaters, and just living their lives.
On Monday the city was closed with restrictions. Social gatherings, bars, clubs and restaurants were imposed and travel to and from the region was restricted.
Sala's music on Twitter changed quickly. "Only if the situation is not minimized," he said, "can it be overcome."
This rapid turn of events in Italy's legendary northern city, home to millions of people across the country, shows how governments around the world are struggling to stem the fast-moving virus.
People in Milan, now subject to closure, want to know if the Italian government, regional and local authorities should have acted faster. "It is clear that Milan will stop," Daniele Costenaro, who works for Amazon in the city, told BuzzFeed News. "It is surreal that in two weeks we were locked up by a handful of cases in a little-known city [Codogno] in the entire city of Milan."
Italy's central government was subjected to widespread criticism and chaos on the weekend when the blocking measures for Milan, Lombardy and 14 provinces in the most affected regions of northern Italy – in total in an area with around 16 million inhabitants – for the first time became known. At that time, the number of people who tested positive for coronavirus rose to over 8,000.
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A passenger at a train station in Milan, March 9th.
Drafts of proposals were released to the press on Saturday evening, causing thousands of panicked people to flee south while millions of others scratched their heads and waited for answers to basic questions, such as whether to go Could go to work.
There were no official announcements until the early hours of Sunday when Conte was facing reporters at a hastily organized press conference.
The introduction of the measures has reported government efforts to communicate effectively since the first cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, were first reported in January. "It is worrying," Lorenzo Pregliasco, co-founder of Quorum, a research agency, told BuzzFeed News. "When you look at what the experts were saying at the time, it was immediately clear that the corona virus was a very serious matter."
"The whole episode is symptomatic of a short circuit between politics, communication and conflicting information that has alternated between alarmism and minimization," said Pregliasco, who lives in Turin.
"Milano doesn't." t stop & # 39; only relinquished the belly and instincts of the city, "said Pregliasco. He described the campaign as" dangerous "and" irresponsible ".
I hope it just gets embarrassing and nothing more than that. Contradicting and minimizing messages are incredibly confusing and risky life – and for someone in charge of a big city that is unforgivable, "added Pregliasco." On Saturday people knew literally not whether they could go back home, see their family, and so on. You had a surreal alarm situation. "
The imposition of measures has exposed government efforts to communicate effectively since the first cases of COVID-19 were first reported in January.
"The government has tried not to panic and has done so. They moved a little awkwardly. On the one hand, they waited to maintain the impression of a normal life and then put it too late determined that this was not possible, "said Costenaro.
" The new normal is that my wife and I wake up and work on our laptops from home, "he said," but I think of everything the people who get up in the morning and have to buy people like me. Or drivers and other delivery services that are at risk with every door they knock on. "
Others in northern Italy have mixed views about government performance.
Luigi Curini, a university professor in Milan, told BuzzFeed News:" There was improvisation from the start. The initial response had to be minimized. And given the reality, there was an overshoot at the other end. "
Some are more sympathetic as this is the biggest public health crisis the country has faced in recent years. Carlene Berry Yağmurlu, an English teacher from Newcastle who has been in Milan for almost 10 years lives, said, "I think they're taking drastic measures, but that's really necessary. I think you should have done it weeks ago. "
And Flavio Mondello Malvestiti, a 31-year-old consultant, said:" They were unprepared, but I honestly believe that they really do everything possible. "
Still, Mondello Malvestiti said the communication could have been better.
" What I believe the government (including local authorities and local authorities) has done wrong is sending mixed messages It is not possible to have a mayor who demands openness and a normal life and a health minister who says this is much worse than the seasonal flu, ”said Mondello Malvestiti. The government should have been clearer about its objectives and possible measures from the start. "
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Conte speaks during a press conference held in Rome earlier this month.
Within the area affected by the closure, some residents were confused as to what the measures – which include restrictions on transport to and from the affected areas with the exception of urgent travel – actually mean for everyday life.
Lorenzo Newman, who is involved in a number of nonprofit organizations in Milan, told BuzzFeed News: “Every day there is a new rule that usually goes against what we were asked to do before. We were told not to hug and kiss … but then why do they still let us use public transportation, which may be even more risky? And why did they quarantine all of Lombardy without having a plan to enforce travel restrictions? "
" Thousands of potentially infected Southerners fled overnight from Milan when the measure was announced and are likely to spread the virus south, "he added.
Despite the frustration, most of the residents who spoke to BuzzFeed News agreed that strict measures were needed and hoped that people would follow the rules.
Christina Hambi, an English digital project manager who lived. She was in Milan for several years and said: "People have to stay in the house – not because they become infected with the virus and die, but to stop it to spread."
That may not be so easy. Mondello Malvestiti said: "Probably for real Milanese it is quite difficult not to make an aperitif, and therefore you can still see people pouring into restaurants and bars who ignore the safety instructions completely."
"Hopefully He added : "As of yesterday, they can no longer do this."
Overall, the immediate effects of the restrictions are not as bad as the dramatic images on social media of empty supermarket shelves and packed trains. The government itself said that the measures do not constitute an "absolute ban on movement".
“Nobody is locked up in your house. I went to the park yesterday and exercised and there were 150 people exercising because you can't go to the gym, "said Hambi." The supermarkets are open and not empty, they are full of groceries, they are full of toilet paper. "
"You don't feel isolated from the world, but it disturbs your daily life," she said. "Even trivial things – you can't get pedicures."
"There are two types of people: the apathetic people and the people who all buy hand gel. "Hambi said. But she is concerned about the continuing impact of this crisis on jobs, the Italian economy and her way of life: "The shockwave of this will last longer than the time of the corona virus."