Italy to jail coronavirus patients violating quarantine
Those who have tested coronavirus positive in Italy and do not stay home could face one to five years in prison.
Italy has announced strict new punishments to try and clamp down on the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the country, including possible jail time for people who have the virus and violate quarantine. The country has so far recorded nearly 70,000 cases and almost 7,000 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
The new orders, published late Tuesday night, include:
-- Those who have tested positive and do not stay home could face one to five years in prison.
-- Fines for violating quarantine rise from 400 euros ($430) to 3,000 euros ($3,245).
-- Businesses that break rules designed to keep the virus from spreading could be closed from five to 30 days.
-- The regulations will be reviewed each month until July 31, and could be made stricter, the government decree says.
-- The decree does not extend the length of the current restrictions, which are due to end on April 3.
On Monday, the Italian government closed all businesses not deemed to be essential to the nation's supply chain of vital requirements. After the latest figures, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte stiffened fines for people leaving their homes to up to 3,000 euros ($3,225), from a previous maximum of 206 euros.
"Every one of us must play our part," he told reporters at a news conference held by remote video link. "If everyone obeys the rules, they don't only protect themselves and their loved ones, but they will enable the whole national community to come out of this emergency."
Meanwhile, the global health crisis continues to raise fears across the rest of Europe and the US.