Europe is groaning under the strain of a second wave of COVID-19 cases. After successfully wrestling the spread under control earlier this year following a serious of strict lock-down measures, Italy is facing the reality of a coronavirus resurgence. Now, Italy is implementing a series of new strict lock-downs in the hope of getting the coronavirus spread under control.
Italy Institutes New Lock-downs
The New York Times reports, “The Italian government announced Wednesday night that it would lock down a significant portion of the country, including the northern regions that are its economic engine, in an effort to stop a resurgent wave of coronavirus infections.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the measures, the most drastic since the nationwide lockdown in March, would take effect on Friday and will seal off six regions in the country’s deeply infected north and highly vulnerable, and poorer, south.
‘The situation is particularly critical,’ Mr. Conte said at an evening news conference. He said the virus was moving at a ‘strong and even violent’ pace.
Across Europe, efforts to halt a second wave of cases with piecemeal measures are being replaced by far stricter rules — and hurried efforts to bolster health systems that could quickly reach capacity in the coming weeks.”
Cases Go Up and Lock-Down Zones Are Established
Although the United States continues to lead the world in new cases, Europe is seeing the trends go in concerning directions too. Per Reuters, “Italy saw 352 COVID-related deaths on Wednesday after registering 353 the day before, the health ministry reported earlier, while the daily tally of new infections rose to 30,550 from 28,244.”
In Italy, the government is dividing the country into three zones – red, yellow, and orange. Per CNBC, “The zoning depends on a raft of factors including local infection rates and hospital occupancy, with restrictions will calibrated accordingly.
In the critically affected red zones people will only be allowed to leave their homes for work, health reasons or emergencies and bars, restaurants and most shops will be closed.
High school classes and those for the final two years of middle school will be moved online.
However, unlike Italy’s national lockdown in the spring, all factories will remain open.”
Most of the red zones are in the industrial north, in Lombardy and Piedmont. Milan is in Lombardy, which comprises about 1/6th of the total population of the country. Lombardy is also responsible for about 1/5th of the GDP for Italy, so the lock-down is sparking economic concerns as well.
Other Areas Won’t Be As Restricted
CNBC continues, “The orange regions, where shops will remain open and people can move freely within their towns and cities but not leave them, are Puglia in Italy’s heel and the island of Sicily.
The rest of the country’s 20 regions, including Lazio around the capital Rome, will be yellow, meaning there are no restrictions other than those imposed nationwide.”
“…Under the nationwide restrictions regardless of zoning, restaurants and bars must close at 6 p.m., cinemas, restaurants, museums and gyms are all closed and shopping centres are closed at weekends.
All high school classes are to be held online, while younger children will still be allowed to attend school in person.”
Europe Hopes to Stem ‘Second Wave’ Tide
All across Europe, countries are taking steps to slow the spread of the second wave of COVID-19 cases. In France and Germany, new restrictions and lock-downs have been announced. Other countries eye raising case numbers nervously, but hesitate to enact lock-downs as their economies continue to stumble from earlier lock-downs and coronavirus effects on certain industries. In the United States, the federal government’s unwillingness to enact lock-downs may be helping parts of the economy to recover, but it continues to cause a slow hemorrhage in industries like hospitality and travel as the pandemic stretches on without hope of reprieve.