Coronavirus: Italian town in strict quarantine after large crowd gathered for mayor’s funeral

‘It was a necessary decision to prevent a new hotbed of infections,’ head of region says

Zoe Tidman
Sunday 19 April 2020 16:39
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Crowds turn out for mayor's funeral in Italy during coronavirus lockdown

An entire Italian town has been placed under strict quarantine measures after a large crowd turned out for the mayor’s funeral during the coronavirus crisis.

More than 200 people gathered in the streets for the funeral procession in Saviano, near Naples, during Italy’s lockdown.

The town has now been closed off, with people not allowed to enter or leave the territory.

“It was a necessary decision to prevent a new hotbed of infections from arising,” the president of the Campania region said.

Vicenzo De Luca said the quarantine aimed to “protect the health of people living in Saviano, in neighbouring areas and in a densely populated entire territory”.

All public offices – except those providing essential services – will also be closed under the new rules lasting until 25 April.

Video footage seen in local media shows numbers of people following the funeral procession, and crowds wearing face masks watching from the side of the road.

The mayor of Saviano, Carmine Sommese, died aged 66 from coronavirus earlier this week, according to ANSA, an Italian news agency.

The decision to place stricter measures on Saviano was an “act of respect for the great doctor and his family, who would have been the first to call for people to act responsibly”, the head of Campania said.

The whole nation is in lockdown as it battles the coronavirus outbreak, with members of the public only allowed to leave their homes if it is deemed essential, for example to get food or medicine.

People can travel between districts if they can prove they have to for work, or if it is an emergency, according to the government’s lockdown rules.

Italy has been one of the worst-hit countries in the world by the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than 175,900 confirmed infections to date.

Around 23,200 people have died in the country after testing positive for the virus, according to official figures on Sunday.

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