Photo Credit: Nati Shohat / Flash 90
Passengers wearing face masks on flight to Rome in early February 2020.

Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced Monday evening that his government will expand its intercity travel restrictions to include the entire country in hopes of stopping the spread of the COVID-19 new coronavirus epidemic.

A new government decree is being issued that requires everyone to show why they must travel specifically to work, or for a health condition, or other reason outside their area of residence.


“There won’t just be a red zone,” Conte told journalists in a news briefing. “There will be Italy.”

As of Monday evening, there were 1,807 additional cases of the virus in Italy, bringing the total to 9,172 people diagnosed with the virus. In addition, 97 new deaths were registered on Monday, raising the death toll to 563 people killed by the virus.

More than 25 percent of the Italian population – some 16 million people in the north, were to be in lockdown until April 3 in a desperate attempt to contain and then stop the epidemic. The lockdown was to apply to Milan and Venice among other cities.