Italy thrown into disarray as premier imposes lockdown over Christmas
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ROME, December 21, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte announced on Friday that the country will face a nationwide lockdown, akin to the stringent summer lockdown, between Christmas Eve and January 6. “It’s not an easy decision, but these measures are necessary,” Conte said.
Currently, Italy operates a color-coded, three-tier system whereby citizens are restricted more or less harshly to “attenuate” the spread of COVID-19, with the “red zone” being “high-risk” and entailing the greatest restrictions, the “orange zone” sitting at “middle-risk,” and the “yellow zone” as “low-risk” and being the least restrictive. In none of the tiers is full freedom of movement permitted, as denizens of yellow tiers can travel only to and from other yellow-tier areas.
But on Friday, Prime Minister Conte announced that all of Italy will be plunged into the “red zone” from December 24 to 27, and then again from December 31 to January 6. On these days, the economy faces strict lockdown measures, with hospitality having to close as well as so-called “non-essential” shops. Even takeaway meals can be ordered only until 10 P.M. Churches will still be open for religious services for the duration of the lockdown, but only until 10 P.M., ruling out Christmas Day midnight Masses.
The days in between the “red zone” lockdown (December 28–30 and January 4) will become “orange zone” days, meaning “non-essential” shops can reopen, but bars and restaurants will have to remain closed.
The “red zone” restrictions are added to the curfew that has already been in effect in most parts of the country. Italians are not allowed to leave their homes between the hours of 10 P.M. and 5 A.M. unless they can prove that they have “essential reasons,” listed as “work or health.” Individuals are required to fill out a “modulo di autodichiarazione,” or self-declaration form, to demonstrate to the authorities the reason they have deigned to venture outside their homes at night.
Wanted in Rome reports that the “form requires the holder to include personal details stating who they are, where they are coming from, and where they are going, their reasons for being out, and that they are aware of the penalties involved for breaking the curfew rules.” Breaking curfew can land you a €200 fine (about $245), but one man recently was fined double that after he broke curfew in November.
In making this announcement, Conte said, “The situation is still difficult, it’s difficult across the whole of Europe. It’s for this reason we are really worried that the [infection] curve could rise during the festive period.” Conte is expected to begin his mass rollout scheme for the COVID-19 vaccine before the end of the month, now that the European Commission has approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for use in the E.U. Vaccinations could begin as early as December 27.
The imposition of locking people in their homes and rushing production of a vaccination as necessary measures to curb a death toll out of control has come under mounting scrutiny. On the former, Phil Lawler of CatholicCulture.org writes that, contrary to what Western governments would like you to think, there “really isn’t much evidence at all that lockdowns are saving lives. There is abundant evidence, on the other hand, that the lockdowns have imposed immense costs on society.”
“The economic costs — the businesses going bankrupt, the restaurants closed, the family firms destroyed — are unmistakable. Slightly less obvious, but more frightening, are the costs to people with medical problems not related to COVID,” Lawler warned. One only needs to look at the “deaths associated with loneliness and depression, such as suicides and drug overdoses,” which “soared” this year, to grasp the devastating and deadly effects of strict lockdowns.
Italy is joined by many other European countries in imposing a Christmas lockdown, including the U.K., whose prime minister, Boris Johnson, announced that most of the country will be in the highest tier 3 and 4 restriction levels. They are also joined by Germany, which has had a national lockdown in place since December 16, lasting until January 10. Denmark, the Czech Republic, and the Netherlands will all be entering national lockdowns from Christmas Eve until at least early January 2021. Many other European states have some form of travel restrictions in place, though they fall shy of a full lockdown.