Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte tried to contain the alarm spreading through Europe’s fourth-biggest economy, unveiling drastic measures in the middle of the night to restrict the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
In a hastily convened news conference Sunday morning, the head of a government already hanging by a thread said that Italy will dramatically restrict movement and activity for a quarter of its population in the economic powerhouse that is the region around Milan.
As news of the measures leaked, it was clear that Italians were having an immediate reaction. Video footage on social media showed people rushing to get on the last train out and escape a virtual lockdown amid some of the most sweeping anti-virus measures outside China. Schools have already been shut as tourism has ground to a halt and businesses take a hit in a country already on the brink of recession.