Italy reports new daily record cases

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Italy reported a new daily record of 21,273 coronavirus cases with 128 deaths, health ministry figures showed on Sunday as the government tightened restrictions further to try to bring the accelerating rise in case numbers under control.

Earlier, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that bars and restaurants would have to close by 6 p.m. and said cinemas, gyms and swimming pools would be shut as part of a package of measures to combat the pandemic which is raging across Europe.

Conte’s decree also shuts down cinemas, theatres, gyms and swimming pools, ski resorts, concert halls, trade fairs and conferences, according to a copy of the document seen by dpa.

In addition, it mandates a switch to online lessons for at least 75 per cent of high school students, and “strongly recommends” residents avoid receiving guests at home and forego all non-essential travel.

The new rules apply from Monday until November 24.

Bars and restaurants will be allowed to operate past 6 pm only for takeaway and home delivery service. Museums are to remain open, but with limits on visitor numbers.

The government is struggling against a mounting second wave of coronavirus infections. On Saturday, daily infection figures rose to a record 19,644 cases, and daily deaths climbed to 151, a five-month high.

Business groups have complained about new restrictions, and there were violent protests in Naples and Rome over the weekend against night-time curfews already in place.

The deputy leader of Unimpresa, an association representing small and medium-sized businesses, called on Saturday for “immediate aid” for all sectors affected by mandatory closures.

Giuseppe Spadafora spoke of the risk of a “knockout blow” for the economy, which is already expected to shrink by around 10 per cent this year, an unprecedented slump.

Nevertheless, a weekly report from the National Health Institute said Friday that the situation warranted a “drastic reduction in physical interactions between people” and “restrictions on mobility.”

Reuters / ANSA / DPA / EPA

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