US, WASHINGTON (NEWS OBSERVATORY) — Italy lives its first weekend of isolation in heavy silence, just interrupted on Saturday by a minute of applause for the medical staff and songs on the balcony as challenges to the pandemic of coronavirus which strikes hard.
According to the report published on Saturday evening, 1,441 people have now been killed by the coronavirus in the country, by far the most affected in Europe. Over 21,000 Italians have tested positive, including 3,500 in the past 24 hours.
New measures, Milan and Rome have closed their parks, public gardens and playgrounds to avoid gatherings.
In the heart of the Eternal City, the 80 hectares of the famous Villa Borghese remain accessible to the rare joggers and walkers often accompanied by their dogs, escorted by the cries of the birds, alone to tear a strange silence.
The same unreal emptiness in the Vatican, near the Saint Peter’s Square closed and guarded by the police, near the Colosseum or in the usually so busy alleys of Trastevere whose bells were to ring in the evening. The few buses that pass are almost empty, under the greyness of this Saturday.
Several other cities from north to south such as Naples, Bologna, Pavia and Pescara, have also closed their parks. In Naples, the authorities have warned that they will be forced into quarantine for those who are outside for no compelling or professional reason.
– “At home, at home” –
Some 157,000 people have been checked and 7,000 will be prosecuted for failing to comply with assembly bans and travel restrictions, the Interior Ministry said on Saturday.
In Bari (Apulia, South), the mayor Antonio Decaro went in person to chase from a park his citizens gathered under the sun. “You can’t stay there. We all have to stay at home, it’s dangerous. At home, at home!” We hear him say on a video posted on Twitter.
If the South has been relatively spared so far, the President of Puglia, Michele Emiliano, does not hide his concern, being offended on Facebook for the decision of people from his region to flee the North where they work: “You we bring many other sources of contagion that we could have avoided.”
Sunday, there will be no family meal or mass, prohibited. Like every day, that of the pope will be broadcast live.
But on Saturday evening, like the day before, the Italians returned by the thousands on their balconies or to their windows to sing and play music, a few hours after having addressed a minute of applause to the nursing staff. They are exhausted, under pressure, especially in Lombardy, the Milan region, the most affected with 966 dead.
The main daily newspaper in the Bergamo region, Eco di Bergamo, has published eleven pages of classified ads for deaths.
– “Italy does not stop” –
“The two main problems are the places, ie the number of beds, and the staff. There is also a lack of ambulances,” said Giulio Gallera, an official of the health system in Lombardy, region la richest in Italy.
“Italy does not stop,” said head of government Giuseppe Conte during a video conference with the social partners, to whom he announced the supply of safety equipment and protective masks.
But additional signs of a country in lethargy, Ferrari announced the stop for two weeks of the production of its cars in its factories of Maranello and Modena (center), the regional elections planned for the spring should be postponed and the second airport of Rome, Ciampino, saw the last plane take off before it closed, bound for Nuremberg, Germany.
To respond to concerns for the third largest economy in Europe, the government must present this weekend a decree detailing the measures to support individuals and businesses: deferral of payment of invoices and VAT, moratoriums on loan repayment, assimilation of quarantine at sick leave.
At midday, Italian Deputy Minister of Health Pierpaolo Sileri announced on Facebook that he had tested positive for the new coronavirus and that he had been placed in solitary confinement at his home.
If the filling of its planes does not ensure sufficient separation of its travelers, Alitalia will now require them to wear a mask.
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Article is written and prepared by our foreign editors from different countries around the world – material edited and published by News Observatory staff in our US newsroom.