Italy's Campania region to impose nightly curfew as COVID-19 cases surge

Reuters

Posted at Oct 20 2020 09:20 PM

Empty tables are seen outside 'The drunken ship' pub at Campo de' Fiori following the government decision to implement further restrictions in order to help cut down the rate of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections in Rome, Italy, October 19, 2020. Picture taken October 19, 2020. Guglielmo Mangiapane, Reuters

ROME - Italy's southern Campania region plans to introduce a nighttime curfew from the coming weekend in an effort to tackle a surge in COVID-19 cases, the regional chief Vincenzo De Luca said on Tuesday.

The move follows a similar decision on Monday by the northern region of Lombardy.

"We are set to ask for a stop to all activities and people's movements from 11 p.m.," De Luca told reporters in Naples.

The central government will have to approve the request, but it is not expected to refuse. Unlike when the epidemic first struck in March, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is looking to give towns and regions more leeway to decide their own curbs as new cases flare around the country.

De Luca has already ordered the closure of all schools in his region until the end of October as local officials warn that Campania's health system risked being overwhelmed.

Campania, centered on Naples, escaped the initial wave of the epidemic largely unscathed, but has seen daily infections rise steadily over the past month and now has the second most cases out of Italy's 20 regions. Lombardy remains the worst hit.

The mayor of Naples, Luigi de Magistris, said Campania risked returning to a rigid lockdown because the virus was "out of control".

"We have just 15 intensive care beds left," he told state broadcaster RAI in a radio interview on Tuesday.