Italy mulls curfew, Covid-19 aid as Naples protest turns violent
New infections soared above 19,000 cases Friday, just a day after Naples -- Italy’s hardest-hit city -- imposed a night-time curfew in a bid to contain the spread that contributed to violent protests.Updated: Oct 24, 2020, 17:48 IST
The Italian government is expected to approve further virus containment measures as soon as Sunday and is mulling additional economic support even as the threat of tighter restrictions prompts protests.
New infections soared above 19,000 cases Friday, just a day after Naples -- Italy’s hardest-hit city -- imposed a night-time curfew in a bid to contain the spread that contributed to violent protests. While Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has repeatedly ruled out a new national lockdown, he is running out of options as less restrictive measures have failed to damp the latest spread. Patients in intensive care units surpassed more than 1,000 for the first time since the pandemic’s peak.
The government may may also adopt new support measures to limit the economic impact of the virus, Finance Minister Roberto Gualtieri said. The government is mulling a 4 to 5 billion-euro ($4.7 to $5.9 billion) emergency decree to aid workers by extending furloughs and banning dismissals, according to people familiar with the matter.
On Friday, Campania President Vincenzo De Luca called for a new national lockdown and said he will soon impose one in his region, which has Naples as the capital. “We are one step away from a tragedy, don’t want to see coffins on the streets,” he said.
Within hours of De Luca’s announcement on Friday, protesters poured into the streets of Naples where some police vehicles were targeted by demonstrators and damaged by explosives. A television news reporter was also beaten.
Interior Vice Minister Matteo Mauri called the protesters “urban guerrillas” and said the demonstrations were “not spontaneous but organized by soccer hooligans, criminals and political extremists,” the Ansa news agency reported on Saturday.