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Italian PM announces stricter measures to counter virus

Italian PM announces stricter measures to counter virus

Italian PM announces stricter measures to counter virus

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Sunday announced a new series of measures to tackle the rising number of virus cases, with restrictions placed on bars and restaurants and push to increase working from home.

Restaurants will have to display their maximum capacity, close at midnight at the latest and limit the number of people per table to six, while bars will have to close at 6pm unless they can offer table service to seated customers. Amateur team sports were also banned.

Arrivals at schools will be staggered to help with social distancing.

Local festivals and fairs, very widespread in Italy, will also be banned, affecting a sector which according to the agricultural union Coldiretti represents 34,000 jobs and 900 million euros annual turnover.

These measures "should enable us to face the new wave of contagion which is severely affecting Italy and Europe. We cannot waste time," said Conte.

Italy was the first European country to be badly hit by the virus and has now registered over 414,000 cases including 36.543 deaths.

More than 11,700 new cases were announced on Sunday, beating the previous record, which came a day earlier on Saturday, of 10,925.

Stricter measures have been already imposed in some of the hardest-hit regions, including Campania around Naples, which has closed schools for two weeks.

As a part of a new 40 billion euros stimulus package the government approved in its 2021 budget, Rome will set up a 4 billion euro fund to compensate companies which have been worst hit by coronavirus restrictions.