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Multiple Italian regions to lockdown amid rising COVID cases

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A man plays an accordion in Codogno, northern Italy, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021.
A man plays an accordion in Codogno, northern Italy, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021.   -   Copyright  Luca Bruno/AP Photo
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Multiple regions in Italy will be locked down from Monday, the Italian Ministry of Health announced on Friday.

The most populated regions including Lombardy and Lazio, where Rome is located, will be classified as "red zones" which is Italy's maximum level of coronavirus restrictions.

Non-essential shops and restaurants have to close in a red zone. Travel will be limited to work requirements, the purchase of basic necessities and health emergencies.

All regions in Italy will move to the red zone over the Easter holiday from April 3 to 5, Italian media reported as well.

Regions that have an incidence rate of more than 250 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants will automatically pass into the red zone moving forward.

Italy's health ministry had said in their most recent situation report that there had been a "deterioration" of the coronavirus risk level in the country amid a rising incidence rate.

In early March, travelling between regions had already been prohibited. The country had also imposed a curfew from 10:00pm to 5:00am.

The country reported more than 26,000 COVID-19 cases and some 380 deaths in the past day due to coronavirus. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the country has recorded more than 3.1 million cases and deplored the death of 101,564 people — making it the hardest-hit EU country.

More than 6.3 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been administered.