JavaScript is off. Please enable to view full site.

Shoppers flood Italian cities as government debates Christmas curbs

Monday, December 14, 2020, 09:54 GMT+7
Shoppers flood Italian cities as government debates Christmas curbs
People take a selfie at Piazza Venezia with a Christmas tree in the background, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Rome, Italy December 9, 2020. Photo: Reuters

MILAN -- Crowds flooded the streets of several Italian cities on Sunday, forcing police to close off popular sites such as Rome’s Trevi fountain, while the government debated which restrictions to enforce over the Christmas holiday period.

Italy on Saturday overtook Britain as the European nation with the highest death toll with a total of 64,520 COVID-19 fatalities.

Almost 1 in 30 Italians have been infected since February, when Italy became the first Western country hit by the pandemic.

The easing of some restrictions Rome had imposed last month to fight a resurgence of the coronavirus brought crowds of shoppers to many sun-bathed city centres on Sunday, heightening concerns about a possible spike in infections in January.

Germany will close most shops from Wednesday until at least Jan. 10, after reporting 321 COVID-19 deaths and 20,200 new cases on Sunday.

“All the main information websites today are full of pictures of city centres awash with unacceptable large gatherings,” Domenico Arcuri, Italy’s special commissioner for the healthcare emergency, told TV programme’s Che Tempo Che Fa.

“We don’t want to see those again ... we must avoid the third wave at all costs. It would be really complicated to launch the vaccination campaign amid a resurgence in cases.”

Arcuri said Italy hoped to kick off the campaign between Jan. 12 and 15.

At an emergency meeting on Sunday, the government discussed whether to loosen a ban that currently prevents people from leaving their hometown on Christmas day, allowing an exception for small towns.

Vincenzo De Luca, governor of Naples’ badly hit Campania region, said he would fight such a step.

“If the government allows free movement of people for towns with less than 5,000 inhabitants we’ll need to open a ward for democratic madness at the prime minister’s residence,” he told Che Tempo Che Fa.

Reuters

More

Read more

;

Photos

VIDEOS

Vietnamese youngster travels back in time with clay miniatures

Each work is a scene caught by Dung and kept in his memories through his journeys across Vietnam

Experience summer sand-boarding in Mui Ne

Sand-boarding, a popular activity amongst local children in the coastal tourism town of Mui Ne in south-central Vietnam, is attracting hundreds of tourists to the Red Sand Dunes

Young maple trees given better protection as Hanoi enters rainy season

The trees are currently growing well, with green leaves and healthy branches.

Hunting skinks for food in southern Vietnam

Skink meat is known to be soft, tasty, and highly nutritious.

Vietnamese-made app allows people to grow real veggies via smartphone

Nguyen Thi Duyen, a young engineer in Hanoi, developed the app and its related services to help busy people create their own veggie gardens.

Latest news

Head for the hills in Vietnam’s Da Lat (P1)

The plateau upon which the city is built rises dramatically from less than 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) to 1,500 meters (5,000 feet), so the city appears surreal, with the only thing missing being a castle as in the fairy tales