Italy closed all unnecessary factories on Saturday before recording a record number of coronavirus deaths, with 4,825 fatalities, accounting for more than a third of global deaths, a serious reminder that the pandemic is out of control.
“The decision taken by the government is to close down all productive activity throughout the territory that is not strictly necessary, crucial, indispensable, to guarantee us essential goods and services,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in a dramatic late-night TV address.
The 55-year-old Italian leader stressed that groceries and pharmacies would remain open and did not spell out what “indispensable” companies were.
“We will slow down the country’s productive engine, but we will not stop it,” Conte said.
When a retired Italian builder was the first person in Europe to die of a new illness a month ago, the Italian record continued to grow, which seemed unimaginable.
The Mediterranean country of 60 million people replaced China as the global epicenter of COVID-19 on Thursday.
It then recorded another 1,420 deaths on Friday and Saturday, with the total number of deaths exceeding the combined total of China and third-ranked Iran.
Medical experts question Iran’s transparency and speculate that Iran’s losses may be higher.
Every day, Italian health officials read the latest news about the deadliest and most transformative crisis since World War II, without expression.
Silvio Brusaferro, head of the National Institutes of Health (ISS), urged the elderly to stay at home because the average age of victims in Italy is 78.5 years.
“If you do not follow all the (government) measures, you make everything more difficult,” Italy’s top medical expert said.
“If you do, we can make this outbreak slow down.”