Italian PM Conte.
  • Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte ordered a lockdown across the country for the upcoming holidays.
  • Explaining it was "not an easy decision," Conte told reporters that "experts were seriously worried that there would be a jump in cases over Christmas," BBC reported.
  • Italy wasn't the only European country to tighten restrictions over the holidays — the UK and Germany have both announced heightened coronavirus restrictions.
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Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte ordered a lockdown across the country for the upcoming holidays.

The government is set to implement "red-zone" restrictions, meaning that Italians across the country must stay in their homes except to go to work, or for medical or emergency reasons. The rules allow limited home visits, with no more than two adult guests permitted in homes.

The restrictions will also limit restaurants and bars to delivery-only service, and force non-essential stores to close.

The order will apply over the Christmas holiday between December 24 and 27, for New Year's, between December 31 and January 3rd, and for the celebration of Epiphany on January 5 and 6, according to The Guardian and the BBC.

The BBC reported that the rules are less strict on between December 28 and 30, and on January 4. On these days, Italians can leave their homes.

Explaining that it was "not an easy decision," Conte told reporters that "experts were seriously worried that there would be a jump in cases over Christmas," BBC reported. 

As of Saturday, Italy had recorded over 1.9 million confirmed cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began, with nearly 68,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Last month, Italy recorded a surge of new daily coronavirus cases, Business Insider's Mikhaila Friel reported.

The news came after other European countries took similar precautions ahead of the holidays. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said  London would undergo stronger lockdown restrictions starting on Sunday, and announced "we cannot continue with Christmas as planned" in the region impacted, Business Insider's Joshua Zitser reported.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also announced last week that the country would enter a stricter lockdown from Christmas until 2021, Business Insider's Kevin Shalvey reported.

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