Italy PM raises maximum fine to 3,000 euros for those who defy lockdown

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The Italian government increased fines Tuesday for those who violate a lockdown order, going from 206 euros to between 400 and 3,000 euros ($430 to $3,227).

Anyone caught leaving their home without a valid reason will be fined, Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte said in a televised address, adding that he hoped to begin lifting restrictions shortly, according to Reuters.

Italian soldiers patrol the square facing Duomo gothic cathedral in downtown Milan, Italy, Sunday, March 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Italian soldiers patrol the square facing Duomo gothic cathedral in downtown Milan, Italy, Sunday, March 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

In light of the coronavirus outbreak, all nonessential businesses in the country have been ordered to remain closed until April 3 and residents have been told to stay home. Before the new order, Italians faced a fine of $225 or three months in jail if they lie about the reason for leaving their homes.

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A decree issued Tuesday gave the government the power to extend the deadline until July 31, however Conte denied planning to keep the lockdown in place until that date. He said he hoped to loosen restrictions “well before then.”

Frustrated by the number of people still going outside, the national government in Rome Saturday banned Italians from even jogging or bicycling. Parks were closed and residents are only allowed to exercise right in the vicinity of their homes.

In the hardest-hit region of Lombardy, where nearly half of Italy's cases and two-thirds of deaths have taken place, even dog walking faces severe restrictions. The radius for dog walking was set at around 650 feet and those who violate the new set of restrictions in Lombardy face fines of up to $5,385.

Police officers and soldiers check passengers leaving from Milan main train station, Italy, Monday, March 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

Police officers and soldiers check passengers leaving from Milan main train station, Italy, Monday, March 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni) (AP)

On Sunday, Rome Police Chief Franco Gabrielli said 80 people were cited a day earlier -- including for shopping six miles from home, traveling about nine miles to a doctor’s appointment and claiming medical reasons for being out for a walk but lacking a doctor’s certification.

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Italy has the second-highest number of confirmed cases in the world at 69,176 and the most reported deaths in the world from coronavirus: 6,820.

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Italian authorities, however, said Sunday the increase in both infections and deaths had shown the first sign of narrowing in the previous 24 hours. On Saturday, 793 people died from Covid-19, the highest daily figure since the contagion came to light February 21. Sunday and Monday saw decreases in the number of deaths -- 650 and 602 respectively -- but on Tuesday the number of deaths spiked to 743.