Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said six regions in the country would face new COVID-19 restrictions beginning Friday as cases have surged throughout Europe. Photo by Roberto Moldonaldo/LaPresse/ANSA/EPA-EFE
Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Italy announced it will join other European nations in locking down parts of the country in response to surging COVID-19 cases in the area.
Six regions in Italy will face new restrictions on Friday as Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte placed the northern regions of Lombardy, Piedmont and Aosta Valley as well as Calabria in the south in the "red zone" permitting residence to leave their homes only for work, health or other emergency reasons.
Travel in or out of those regions will also be barred, and bars, restaurants and non-essential shops will close.
The regions of Puglia and Sicilia will be placed in the orange zone, closing bars and restaurants, and prohibiting people from traveling outside of their towns and cities. The rest of the country will be placed in the yellow zone, meaning they will not face any new restrictions.
The announcement came as Italy registered 30,550 new cases and 352 new deaths on Wednesday, bringing its totals to 790,377 infections and a death toll of 39,764, according to data gathered by Johns Hopkins University.
At an evening news conference announcing the restrictions, Conte said the virus was moving at a "strong and even violent" pace.
"The situation is particularly critical," he said.
There have been nearly 48 million total cases and 1.22 million deaths globally, with Europe reporting a 22% increase in cases and a 43% spike in cases over a seven-day period ending Tuesday, according to the World Health Organization.
Britain also entered a national lockdown as of midnight Thursday, closing restaurants, bars and non-essential businesses until Dec. 2.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was presented data saying Britain's National Health Service could "collapse" due to rising cases.
"And when I look at what is happening now amongst some of our continental friends and see doctors who have tested positive being ordered, alas, to work on COVID wards and patients airlifted to hospitals in some other countries simply to make space, I can reach only one conclusion: I am not prepared to take the risk with the lives of the British people," he said.