Coronavirus: Priest ‘fined for walking streets with his cross’ in Italy

Cleric was conducting a procession alone in Calabrian town, according to local media

Zoe Tidman
Friday 03 April 2020 15:32 BST
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An Italian priest has reportedly been fined for walking around his local town carrying a crucifix during the lockdown.

Police penalised him for doing a procession on his own around the streets of Rocca Imperiale in southern Italy, according to local media.

He was fined €400 (£350) for breaking the rules of the lockdown, local newspaper Il Quotidiano del Sud reported.

The mayor of the town in the southwest region of Calabria had stressed religious processions were banned under the restrictions, according to Italian news agency Ansa.

People in Italy have been ordered to stay at home unless for a list of essential reasons, such as to buy food or medicine, to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Several priests have been reprimanded by authorities for going ahead with funerals while all public events are banned, according to local media in Campagna and Veneto.

Meanwhile, a couple in the northern Piedmont region have been charged for meeting up in a car, while a cyclist was fined towards the end of last month after taking his bike into the sea to avoid police checks.

Tougher sanctions for those who break the rules have been brought in by the government, with fines raised to between €400 and €3000 (£2,640) for those caught on non-essential trips outside.

On Thursday, around 7,600 people across the country were penalised for ignoring the restrictions on movement, according to interior ministry figures.

Italy has been one of the worst-affected nations in the world during the coronavirus pandemic, with around 115,200 confirmed cases to date.

More than 13,900 people have died after testing positive for Covid-19 as of 3 April, according to the latest figures, while around 18,200 people have recovered from the disease.

Italy had the highest official death toll in the world on Friday.

The head of the nation’s Civil Protection Agency has said it looks likely the national lockdown will continue beyond the start of May as the country continues to battle the outbreak.

“We have to be extremely rigorous,” Angelo Borrelli said in an interview with state broadcaster RAI.

This week the government extended the lockdown, which has imposed severe restrictions on movement and shut down all “non-essential” business, until 13 April.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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