MILAN (AP) – Luxury fashion boutiques, jewelry boutiques and most of Milan’s top department stores closed on Friday, as Italy’s vibrant financial capital hub fell into a gray tranquility on the first day of partial closure in four areas to prevent revival of coronavirus.
The new restrictions – leading to the shutdown of a slew of unnecessary businesses – allow more freedom than Italy’s nearly 10-week total shutdown that started in March, but still made a decision from Regional governments feel unfairly targeted. In particular, the south, where the majority of spring breaks, is affected the most, despite fears that its poor health care system is particularly vulnerable.
The Italian move resonated in many parts of Europe where infections were on the rise again, but governments were reluctant to adopt the form of national shutdown they did in the spring because of the damage. the terrible economics they have caused. For example, many European countries have chosen to leave schools open ̵1; making it easier for parents to get to work – while closing bars, restaurants and many stores.
However, even milder restrictions this time around are being harshly criticized – especially in countries like the UK and Italy, where they have exacerbated regional tensions.
According to Italy’s complex 21-point formula, the northern regions of Lombardy, Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta and the southern region of Calabria, the bow of Italy, face increased restrictions over the next 15 days. , including the closure of all unnecessary stores, Take out only bars and restaurants, distance training for students 12 years of age and older, and a ban on leaving the country except for work, healthy or other serious reason.
Sicily and Puglia, the other two southern regions, fall into a second restriction, while the rest of the country maintains more freedom of movement but with a 10 p.m. curfew and restaurants close. at 6 pm.
In Rome, the Italian Minister of Health faced Parliament to defend how the government handled the new phase of the crisis amid fears that the government frequently overtakes lawmakers during the time. pandemic.
Roberto Speranza said: “In a great country like Italy, this cannot be the field of a political battle, noting that the criteria being applied have been in place since April without disagreement. any point. “I say this with all my strength and from my heart: Enough. Don’t spark debate. “
Speranza said the shutdown is a necessity as the number of confirmed infections has skyrocketed and mortality has hit levels not seen since spring.
The restrictions came into effect on the day Italy hit an all-time high in the number of confirmed infections per day – 37,809 – and recorded the highest number of deaths – 446 – since spring. Lombardy ‘s latest cases have risen to almost 10,000, accounting for more than 25% of new infections confirmed in Italy on Friday.
“Maybe people are used to seeing 400 people die. That number can make people petrify in front of their TV. People seem more indifferent now, ”said Luca Zerbini, a lawyer drinking a cup of coffee to take away near the Duomo.
In Calabria, the governor vowed to resist the restrictions. And some mayors in Lombardy cities that suffered the first shutdown but were less severely affected are now pushing for restrictions that vary by province rather than by regional type.
Milan’s mayor, Giuseppe Sala, has denied such different treatment in areas that share the same healthcare system. “I invite Milanese people to stay home as much as possible during these very difficult days,” Sala said Friday.
It’s all quiet in the city, where even the stalls that form in front of the famous take-out sandwich shops – are still open – are nowhere to be found. The range of stores considered “essential” includes hair salons, cosmetics and perfumes, flower shops and sweets shops next to groceries – but not ice cream or bakeries sweet. That created the bizarre situation where the top Rinascente department store was only open to customers who wanted to go to the ground floor to buy cosmetics, a food court on the 7th floor or a hair salon on the rooftop.
That patchwork reflects an attempt to strike a balance between slowing the spread of the virus with protecting the ravaged economy – and it can be seen across Europe. Many feared that the affected businesses in the spring would not survive the new restrictions during this time.
In France, bookstores were closed and Paris’ famous English store Shakespeare and Company appealed to readers for support.. And it was successful, receiving 5,000 online orders in a week, compared with the usual 100.
But even as politicians keep an eye on the economy, they worry about the pressure on their strained health systems.
Luca Zaia, governor of the Veneto region, northern Italy, said that the deaths in his area were mainly among people over 70 years old while most infections were in young people, emphasizing the Everyone’s need to adhere to the new rules even in one of the most restrictive areas.
“We are entering the most critical phase,” said Zaia, noting that if the situation worsens, they will have to suspend other medical procedures to find a bed for COVID-19 patients.
The German Minister of Health has warned of the difficult time ahead unless the country can “break” the growing trajectory of coronavirus infections, which has doubled the number of patients receiving special care in just one day. 10 days and set a new record with more than 21,500 new confirmed cases on Friday. .
And the French government is providing rapid virus tests to nursing homes across the country and the nation’s largest airport, Charles de Gaulle, Paris. The tests are cheap and quick, but experts say they are also less accurate than standard tests. Nursing homes in France, Spain and other European countries have seen huge death tolls in the first surge.
“The second wave is here and it’s very violent,” French Health Minister Olivier Veran warned on Thursday night, calling on everyone to respect a partial national embargo.
Meanwhile, in Denmark, more than a quarter of a million people are locked up in a northern area where a mutant variant of the coronavirus infects a mink farm. Although there is no evidence that the mutation poses a threat to humans, the Danish authorities did not get a chance and ordered the killing of millions of animals..
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