Italy’s Covid-19 cases drop amid new stricter curbs

The number of new coronavirus cases in Italy have declined for a second time in 13 days, amid the enforcement of new stricter restrictions across the country and warnings that the worst was yet to come.

The Ministry of Health on Monday revealed that 17,012 new cases were reported on Monday, which was a dramatic drop compared with the record high of 21,273 figure registered the previous day, reports Xinhua news agency.

Also in the last 24 days, there were 141 new fatalities.

The new figures have increased the country’s overall caseload and the death toll to 542,789 and 45,088, respectively.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte had announced that pubs, bars, restaurants, and ice cream shops must shut down at 6 p.m. as part of new measures to contain the pandemic.

The new measures went into effect on Monday and will last until November 24.

The reaction to the new measures around Italy was mixed, with protests held against the new rules in several cities including Rome, Naples, and Catania, and the Italian Stock Exchange in Milan opening trading Monday nearly 2 per cent lower in response to the new measures.

Movie theatre operators complained against the reclosure of their facilities, saying they observed social distancing and other health rules .

The measures are expected to cost restaurant owners who must now close at night an additional 2.7 billion euros, according to various news sites.

The newspaper Corriere della Sera reported that several of Italy’s best-known chefs, including Massimo Bottura and Max Mascia, complained they were being “punished for the negligence of others”.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said that these are “difficult days” but warned that things will get worse if the rules are not obeyed widely.

In some cases, communities have taken measures into their own hands, with Milan Today reporting that that city — the hardest-hit major city in Italy — launched a portal to record positive cases as a way to compensate for a lack of traditional contact tracing.