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Minority continue to flout decree as nation records biggest daily rise in coronavirus deaths

Italian authorities have pressed charges against more than 40,000 people for violating the lockdown imposed to contain the coronavirus, according to figures from the interior ministry.

While millions of Italians have been staying at home since 9 March, when the prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, imposed a national quarantine, a minority of the population have violated rules requiring citizens to venture out only if strictly necessary, such as for work, health-related reasons or grocery shopping.

Italy reported its biggest daily rise in deaths on Wednesday, with 475 new fatalities. The country now has 35,713 cases approaching half the total for China, which stands at 81,102.

Police stopped and checked 700,000 citizens between 11 and 17 March, 43,000 of whom were found to have violated the decree, which also ordered the closing of shops, bars, restaurants, gyms and swimming pools.


How can I protect myself from the coronavirus outbreak?

The World Health Organization is recommending that people take simple precautions to reduce exposure to and transmission of the coronavirus, for which there is no specific cure or vaccine.

The UN agencyadvisespeople to:

  • Frequently wash their hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or warm water and soap
  • Cover their mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue when sneezing or coughing
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever or cough
  • Seek early medical help if they have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, and share their travel history with healthcare providers
  • Avoid direct, unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals when visiting live markets in affected areas
  • Avoid eating raw or undercooked animal products and exercise care when handling raw meat, milk or animal organs to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods.

Despite a surge in sales of face masks in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak, experts are divided over whether they can prevent transmission and infection. There is some evidence to suggest that masks can help prevent hand-to-mouth transmissions, given the large number of times people touch their faces. The consensus appears to be that wearing a mask can limit but not eliminate the risks, provided it is used correctly.

Many countries are now enforcing or recommending curfews or lockdowns. In the UK any household where a person develops a fever or a new continuous cough are recommended to self-isolate for 14 days.

Justin McCurry

One of the most serious cases happened in Sciacca, Sicily, when a man who had tested positive for Covid-19 was discovered by police while out shopping, despite the strict order to self-isolate at home. Prosecutors opened an investigation and accused the man of aiding the epidemic. If convicted, he could face up to 12 years in prison.

On 10 March a 30-year-old man was stopped by the police in Turin at 2.30am while soliciting a sex worker.

Police near Venice pressed charges against a priest because he was officiating at a funeral. Another priest was reported for the same reason in Torre Annunziata in Campania, together with relatives of the deceased. Funeral services are banned under the decree.

The prosecutors office in Aosta, in north-west Italy, opened an investigation against a man for aggravated attempt to spread the epidemic because he had not informed his doctors of suspected coronavirus symptoms before undergoing plastic surgery on his nose. The man subsequently tested positive for Covid-19.

Violations have spurred mayors across the country to issue particularly pointed messages to try to convince people to stay home. Last week the mayor of Bari, Antonio Decaro, personally told people in a public park to leave immediately and return to their homes.

I hear itll all be OK. But how can that be if every day we continue to leave our homes to do our grocery shopping, fill up our cars or go for a run?, said Gianfilippo Bancheri, the mayor of Delia, a small village in central Sicily, in a live Facebook announcement. Sunday there were people having parties, barbecues. Are they serious? Thats how you transmit the disease! Apparently, some people still cannot engage their brain.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/18/italy-charges-more-than-40000-people-violating-lockdown-coronavirus