Covid: Italy latest European country to order Christmas lockdown

Covid: Italy latest European country to order Christmas lockdown

Italy has ordered a nationwide lockdown over much of the Christmas and New Year period in an effort to combat a rise in coronavirus cases.

The country will be under “red-zone” restrictions over the public holidays, with non-essential shops, restaurants and bars closed, and Italians only allowed to travel for work, health and emergency reasons.

Limited home visits will be allowed.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said it was “not an easy decision”.

“Our experts were seriously worried that there would be a jump in cases over Christmas… We therefore had to act,” he said in a news conference.

Italy has recorded the highest Covid death toll in Europe, with close to 68,000 fatalities.

Mr Conte said the launch of the vaccination drive later this month would mark the beginning of “the end of this nightmare.”