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Italy orders closure of shops amid coronavirus outbreak

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Wednesday added new restrictions to the lockdown imposed to fight the coronavirus after figures showed Italy posting the highest daily increase in deaths of any country since the outbreak began, Reuters reports.

In a televised address to the nation, Conte said all shops would be shuttered except supermarkets, food stores and chemists, and companies must close all their departments that are not essential to production.

Services such as hairdressers and beauty parlors will also be closed, along with all bars and restaurants. Company canteens can remain open if they are able to guarantee they can keep a distance of at least one meter between customers.

“We will only be able to see the effects of this great effort in a couple of weeks,” said Conte, referring to the daily bulletins announcing the number of new cases and deaths.

On Monday, Conte extended restrictions on travel from the north to entire country. He issued a new government decree requiring all people in Italy to demonstrate a need to work, health conditions or other limited reasons to travel outside the areas where they live.

Conte had signed a decree early Sunday attempting to lock down 16 million people in Italy’s prosperous north – more than a quarter of Italy’s population — for nearly a month to halt the virus’ relentless march across Europe.