As Italy on March 20 announced 627 new deaths, the largest single-day toll anywhere in the world, the authorities drafted soldiers to help enforce the lockdown. Italy is the worst-hit in the world and in the north of the country, particularly the Lombardy region, hospitals struggle to treat thousands of cases. While speaking at a news conference, President of Lombardy, Attilio Fontana, said that the government has agreed that the military can be used to help enforce the lockdown.
Fontana said, “The request to use the army has been accepted and 114 soldiers will be on the ground throughout Lombardy. It is still too little, but it is positive”. He further added, “Unfortunately we are not seeing a change of trend in the numbers, which are rising”.
Currently, Italy has more than 47,000 coronavirus cases and the deadly virus has claimed more than 4,000 lives in the country. While speaking to an international media outlet, Chinese medical experts helping Italy deal with the crisis have said that the restrictions imposed in Lombardy are ‘not strict enough’. Another Italian nurse in Milan reportedly said that the situation in Italy was so dire that the dead were no longer being counted.
Italy has come to a complete standstill as it is under lockdown. In a bid to contain the spread of the deadly virus, several countries have also banned travel to and from Italy. The World Health Organisation has said that there is a need for bold measures in all European countries. While speaking at a press conference, WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge called Europe the ‘epicentre’ of coronavirus pandemic. He said, “Every country, with no exceptions, needs to take their boldest actions to stop or slow down the virus threat”.
The virus is spreading rapidly in Europe. France joined Italy and Spain in imposing restrictions and dozens of countries have also closed borders, ordered curfews and banned most public events. As per reports, Spain and Russia also sealed off their borders and, on the other hand, Germany also severely restricted crossings.