Italy is currently one of the most COVID-19 infected places on Earth, with a total of 35,713 cases as of March 19 and nearly 3,000 total deaths. The country went into lockdown this month amid fears the outbreak could stray further into Europe, but despite their best efforts the pandemic wears on.
How long has Italy been on lockdown?
The Italian government was quick to apply a raft of strict measures on the country during the early days of the outbreak, as cases ballooned in the northern region of Lombardy.
While the new measure were designed to halt the spread of COVID-19, they proved nearly ineffective, and officials extended a regional lockdown over Lombardy and parts of Veneto on March 8.
Countrywide lockdown came two days later on March 10.
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With the exception of the northern regions, Italy has now spent a total of nine days in isolation.
Although many of the country’s citizens have followed the new Government restrictions, thousands of people continue to violate the lockdown.
Italian authorities have pressed charges on more than 40,000 people found infringing the government’s restrictions, according to the government’s interior ministry.
Salvatore Vella, the district attorney of Agrigento in south-west Sicily, said one of the reasons for this lies in the particulars of the government decree.
He said: “The problem is that the governmental decree does not explicitly prohibit movement in public unless a person has tested positive for the virus or has come into contact with someone who is infected.
“If the decree had been more explicit, it would have granted prosecutors the ability to apply the law more clearly and would have given citizens a strong incentive not to break the law.”
Those who break the countrywide rules risk severe punishment, with years of prison time amongst the potential ramifications.
Police apprehended one 30-year-old man who tested positive for COVID-19 while he was shopping, violating clear guidelines to stay at home.
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Prosecutors have accused the man of “aiding the epidemic”, and he faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted.
Mr Vella added authorities are considering instituting even stricter laws in the near future, with immediate arrests possible for people breaking the lockdown.
He said: “We are studying the possibility of applying a regulation passed in 1934 to combat the spread of cholera, which includes arrest for anyone who doesn’t take measures to stop the spread of an infective disease.”
The attorney added people have chosen to violate the lockdown for a litany of reasons, ranging from problems with extended cohabitation to perceived misinformation.
“In recent days we’ve received about 40 complaints.
“There were some who claimed to have violated the lockdown because the epidemic is only fake news, while others took to the street following a domestic dispute.”
Experts have stated “irresponsible” people still play a part in spreading the virus, showing little care for collective wellbeing.
Police street patrols and containment measures continue to tighten, and shops are closing earlier every day.
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