Coronavirus: Italy charges 50,000 people with breaching lockdown, including priests

Zoe Tidman
Friday 20 March 2020 18:16 GMT
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Italy has charged more than 50,000 people for breaking enforced social isolation rules during the coronavirus lockdown.

On Thursday alone, 9,407 people were caught violating measures aimed at containing the virus, according to official figures.

This is around 1,000 more compared to the day before, interior ministry data shows.

Italy has gone into lockdown as it tries to stop the spread of coronavirus, with authorities telling those in the country they can only leave the house for work, health reasons or emergencies.

Police are clamping down on those who break these rules, checking the movements of around one million people in over a week, according to the government figures.

Several priests have been charged for going ahead with funerals, according to local media in Campagna and Veneto.

Others have reportedly been caught going fishing, playing cards and drinking beer outdoors despite restrictions banning non-essential trips out the house.

Those breaking lockdown rules could face a fine or up to three months in prison.

Shops and restaurants have also been discovered serving customers when lockdown measures order them to be shut, with police pressing charges against more than 1,800 business owners since 11 March, figures show.

One shop that has been shut down during the lockdown is a kebab shop in Bergamo, one of Italy’s worst-hit areas, according to local paper L’Eco di Bergamo.

Around 41,000 people have been infected with Covid-19 – a flu-like virus that can develop into pneumonia – since the outbreak began.

More people have now died in Italy than China, where the disease originated, as of Thursday, when the death toll rose to more than 3,400.

The lockdown could go on for longer than first planned, the prime minister has suggested.

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