Italy to Close Off Large Part of the Country Over Coronavirus Fears

The Lombardia region is responsible for 22 percent of the country’s annual GDP.

AP Photo/Antonio Calanni

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

The Italian government plans to almost entirely shut down a large part of the country in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus, according to news reports about a drafted government decree. The proposed measure would lock down the country’s northwestern region of Lombardia and parts of 11 other provinces that include major cities including Venice and Milan. The move is an indication of how serious concerns over the spread of the coronavirus have become for the country, as 5,880 people have tested positive for the virus there, and 233 people have died. Until now, the Italian government has attempted to use more subtle methods of control. But, if approved, about a quarter of the entire country’s population will be affected by the new restrictions, which would go into effect on Sunday and will last until April 3.

Under the restrictions, which Bloomberg reported on after viewing draft copies of the plan, huge swaths of the country will essentially be fully quarantined, with all travel in and out restricted, and no movement allowed within the area unless for “non-deferrable” business or health reasons. Virtually all public events, church services, schools, theaters and outdoor recreational activity will be shut down, and all business meetings cancelled. 

The restrictions are reminiscent of the near total shutdown of large areas of China, and likely will have serious economic impact on Italy’s already wobbly economy. According to Bloomberg, the Lombardia area alone is responsible for 22 percent of Italy’s annual GDP, and cities like Venice and Milan are crucial to the country’s tourism industry. 

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.