Italy plans large-scale lockdown in country’s north to fight coronavirus

The Italian government is planning to lock down Lombardy, a region of 10 million people where Milan is the capital, and 11 provinces in neighboring regions, in the most sweeping steps any European country has so far prepared to take against the coronavirus epidemic.

A draft decree from the Italian Prime Minister’s office, seen by The Wall Street Journal, says people living in Lombardy and 11 named provinces in Lombardy’s neighboring regions must “absolutely avoid any movement into and out of the areas.” Police, emergency services and if needed the army will be available to enforce the quarantine. People violating the lockdown can be punished with a fine or jail terms, according to the decree…

In addition to being Italy’s most populous region, Lombardy is also the country’s industrial heartland, and putting it under full quarantine is likely to deal a severe blow to Italy’s already-struggling economy.

The draft decree also tells people to avoid moving within the areas under lockdown, except for emergencies and work obligations that can’t be postponed.