Italy Places Coronavirus Restrictions on Entire Country

Mar 11 2020
Published in: Public Policy
| Updated Apr 27 2023
Italy is the most recent to restrict travel within and across its borders to control the spread of coronavirus. Worldwide ERC® is helping members stay up to date with a page dedicated to breaking news.

On 8 March, to help contain the spread of the coronavirus within its borders, the Italian government began imposing restrictions on the ability of individuals to travel within a large part of Northern Italy. The restrictions apply to approximately 16 million people in the Lombardy region and 14 other provinces, which include the cities of Milan and Venice. Last night, however, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the restrictions would apply to all of Italy and its 60.5 million residents. The restrictions take effect today.

Over the last week, the Italian Government quickly expanded the areas of the country subject to the restrictions. The restrictions first started last Thursday with several towns that are home to an approximate total of 50,000 people at the center of the coronavirus cases in Italy. Sunday, restrictions expanded to parts of Northern Italy and then, today, with the entire country. The restrictions will remain in place through 3 April.

The restrictions include the closing of schools and institutions of higher education and cancelling of public events and ceremonies. Restaurants must close by 6 p.m. Residents may travel only in cases of emergency or essential duties. Individuals who break with the restrictions can be subject to a fine of up to 206 euros and three months in jail. As the restrictions are very new, there are still many outstanding questions as to the need to receive authorization for travel or face a penalty.

As of today, most trains are still operating within Italy but some air carriers serving Italy have suspended flights to the country. Air Lingus, Iberia and Ryan Air are suspending flights to all of Italy with other carriers so far suspending flights to cities in Northern Italy. Israel had already suspended all flights between the two countries.

Sharing a border with Austria, France, Slovenia and Switzerland, the impact of restrictions is also being felt by nationals of those countries who work in Italy. Approximately 70,000 Swiss nationals who work in Italy and will be restricted from traveling to their place of employment. The Swiss government continues to allow Italian nationals to cross the border but they are subject to the domestic travel restrictions now in place for all of Italy.

How This Impacts Mobility

Northern Italy is a particularly key industrial and commercial area for the country and Italy on the whole is a prevalent destination for transferees and business travelers. Italy is the first country outside of China to implement travel restrictions to a large region and now entire country. Thus, other governments will likely watch the effectiveness and the economic impact of the restrictions on containing the spread of the coronavirus.

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