Elderly Italians robbed of shopping by young people on scooters in southern Italy, local media reports

Thefts come amid concerns about potential civil unrest during ongoing lockdown

Conrad Duncan
Tuesday 31 March 2020 17:33 BST
Empty streets across Italy's Lombardy region

Two elderly Italians have been robbed of their shopping by young people on scooters in southern Italy, according to local media.

The thefts came amid concerns about potential civil unrest in the Italy’s southern regions as the country entered its fourth week of lockdown over its coronavirus epidemic.

The older people, who were robbed in separate incidents, were targeted because it was easier for thieves to steal from them, the Italian news wire service Ansa reported.

One victim, identified as a 67-year-old man, was robbed in the municipality of San Marcellino, while the other, who was not identified, was robbed in Fuorigrotta, a western suburb of Naples.

Ansa added that the method of robbing people by scooter was difficult to control as police, who are working to enforce lockdown measures, have not been able to follow everyone.

On Saturday, Italy’s minister for southern regions expressed concerns about potential social tensions and civil unrest in poorer areas of the country if the coronavirus epidemic grows in the south.

The northern region of Lombardy has been the epicentre of Italy’s outbreak so far and has seen more than 7,000 deaths due to Covid-19.

“I am afraid that the worries that are affecting large sections of the population over health, income and the future, with the continuation of the crisis, will turn into anger and hatred,” Giuseppe Provenzano told La Repubblica newspaper on Saturday.

However, Michele Emiliano, governor of the southern Puglia region, has downplayed fears of civil unrest in the south but warned lockdown measures may have to be extended until mid-May.

Giuseppe Conte, Italy’s prime minister, has said his government would designate €400m (£353m) for food vouchers following reports that people in the south were running out of food and money.

Italy has recorded 11,591 deaths and more than 100,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19, as of Tuesday morning, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre.

The country’s lockdown has been extended until at least 12 April — Easter Sunday — with officials hoping the peak of its crisis will have passed by then.

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