Italians have been banned from travelling within the country in yet another attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus, with data showing a further 651 people have died from the disease.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced late on Saturday he would freeze all non-essential business activity after previous measures failed to peg back the contagion.
The number of fatalities now stands at 5476 after the coronavirus emerged a month ago in the wealthy north before slowly advancing southwards.
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Full details of Conte’s order have yet to be released, but the interior and health ministries said people had to stay where they were, unless urgent business or health reasons forced them to move to another town or region.
Italy has registered more deaths than any other country in the world, while the number of confirmed cases is second only to China.
The tally of infections rose by 5560 to 59,138 on Sunday, the Civil Protection Agency said.
However, offering a ray of hope, the latest figures represented an improvement on Saturday, when the death toll rose by 793 and new cases increased by 6557.
Italy’s top Health Council head Franco Locatelli cautioned against overestimating the trend but said there had been a slight drop in the figures.
“We must not lower our guard, we must continue with the measures taken and respect the government’s instructions,” he told a news conference.
© RAW 2020