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Coronavirus lockdown: How do you put an entire country on lockdown?

Coronavirus has killed more than 4,000 people around the world, the majority of which are from China. However, the second highest numbers of fatalities have been reported in Italy. The country’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has placed 60 million people in Italy on lockdown in an effort to stop the spread of the killer virus. explains how one goes about putting a whole country on lockdown.

Coronavirus has infected more than 114,000 people across the globe from 115 countries and territories.

In the initial weeks of the viral outbreak, all cases were linked back to countries where the spread of the virus had been prolific, such as China.

However, within months, several other countries have reported massive numbers of cases.

Italy has confirmed 9,172 cases of coronavirus, with 463 of these dying from the deadly infection.

In total, 724 people have recovered from coronavirus, leaving 7,985 still currently ill with the disease.

Of these, around 733 are in a serious condition according to health officials. 


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Last month, the worst affect parts of northern Italy were put under quarantine.

Eleven Italian towns had been put under lockdown last month in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.

The lockdown has now been extended to include the entire country.

On Monday, the Italian PM orderer people to stay home and seek permission for essential travel.

He said the measures were designed to protect the most vulnerable.

In a TV address, he said: “We’re having an important growth in infection… and deaths.”

He added: “The whole of Italy will become a protected zone.

We all must give something up for the good of Italy. We have to do it now.

“This is why I decided to adopt even more strong and severe measures to contain the advance… and protect the health of all citizens.”

How do you put an entire country on lockdown?

A lockdown across the entire country can impact several different areas of life. 

The specific restrictions include a ban on nightlife, all sporting events, closing schools and universities, stricter rules for travel, controls at train stations and more.

Mr Conte said: “Our habits must be changed, changed now. 

“We all have to give up something for the good of Italy. 

“We will succeed only if we all collaborate and we adapt right away to these more stringent norms.”

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Public transport 

Mr Conte said public transport would remain operational and airports and train stations would stay open.

Tourists will be permitted to travel home, but those departing and arriving on flights will have to justify themselves and their movements.

With the lockdown of towns in the north, travellers at train stations had to sign police forms to explain why they were travelling to ensure “proven work needs” or other reasons qualifying it a necessity.

Those who lie face a jail term of up to three months or a fine of €206 (£180).

Additionally several people had their temperatures checked at train stations.


Police have also been assigned to check drivers on the roads to ensure they are adhering to travel restrictions.

Cruise ships

At some ports, cruise ships have been forbidden to dock and checks have been introduced.

Earlier passengers arriving in Venice were not permitted to disembark to visit the city.

Public spaces

Social gatherings

All public gatherings have been banned, including sports, religious events and fairs.

Pope Francis celebrated morning Mass by himself in the chapel of the Vatican hotel where he lives, with the mass live-streamed instead of gathering people for mass.

Mr Conte also said nightlife is banned.

He said: “No more nightlife; we can’t allow this anymore since they are occasions for contagion.”

All weddings have also been suspended until April 3.


A person wishing to visit a prison is unable to do so until further notice.

This measure has caused widespread riots which led to the death of six inmates. 

Hospitals and healthcare

Anyone taking a patient to A&E is not permitted to stay with them in the waiting room without permission.

Leave for healthcare workers has been cancelled.



All sporting events and competitions have been cancelled until April 3 as well as all gyms being closed.

Leisure activities

Several activities around Italy have been closed such as museums and archaeological sites.

Ski lifts have also been closed after students whose classes were cancelled began booking trips to ski resorts.

Cinemas and theatres have been shut as well.


Bars and restaurants are only permitted to open between 6am to 6pm and they must guarantee customers are sat at least one metre apart, or they risk being closed.


Shops can remain open if they are also able to guarantee the one-metre safety distance for customers.

Food stores are allowed to remain open at all hours.

Large and medium-sized shopping centres and markets are required to close at weekends.

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