Lombardy fines 400 euros for anyone who leaves home without a mask

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Lombardy fines 400 euros for anyone who leaves home without a mask

The leader of the far-right League, Matteo Salvini / EFE
The leader of the far-right League, Matteo Salvini

The Italian region with the most cases of coronavirus requires using these protections until at least April 13

This Sunday is the first day that the 10 million inhabitants of Lombardy, the Italian region most affected by the coronavirus pandemic, are required to wear a mask or, at least a scarf, to cover their nose and mouth every time they leave the house. This new measure will be in force in principle until April 13 and contemplates a fine of 400 euros for those who do not comply.

It is an ordinance promoted by the regional president, Attilio Fontana, who made this decision after seeing the provisions adopted in other countries hit by the pandemic, as he explained. “Masks solve the problem 100% and a handkerchief 30-40%, but it is better than nothing,” he commented on Radio Padania. In China and South Korea, among other nations, the population was forced to use these devices from the outset to try to prevent coronavirus infections.

The decision taken by the Lombard regional government has drawn criticism in Italy, where the medical and political authorities have not yet agreed on whether or not to wear a mask to go out. Angelo Borrelli, head of Civil Protection and special commissioner for this crisis, assured that it is essential to take it “when safety distances are not respected”, but that he does not wear it because he considers that recommendation into account.

Franco Locatelli, president of the Higher Health Council and member of the group of experts who advise the Italian Government in this crisis, was in the same line. “We know that masks are useful to prevent the spread of infected people, but the fundamental measure is respect for social distance,” said Locatelli.

Beppe Sala, mayor of Milan, acknowledged that citizens are “disoriented” by these various indications. However, he asked the Milanese to comply with the new ordinance, inviting health officials to increase the distribution of masks. These have become very difficult to find in pharmacies and, when they can be bought, they have high prices. To increase the offer in the market, the Lombard authorities have promoted the local manufacture of these devices with the approval of the Higher Institute of Health.

Fabrizio Pregliasco, a virologist at the University of Milan, assured that it is “correct” to leave the house with a mask, since in Lombardy “as a precaution we should all consider ourselves positive to the Covid-19”. Using this protection also reinforces “the message of social distancing, which is important so that the virus does not run again.” Massimo Galli, head of the Infectious Diseases department of the Sacco hospital in Milan, warned for his part that in this northern region of the country “the number of people who have been infected is five or ten times higher” than what the data says, officers.

In Lombardy, there are 49,000 of the almost 125,000 infected with coronavirus registered in Italy, of which about 21,000 have been cured, and more than 15,000 have died. The disease is still in a stabilization phase, although yesterday it offered two encouraging data: the number of deaths was the lowest in the last ten days and, for the first time since the pandemic broke out, the number of patients admitted to us fell. Of hospitals.