Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Ferdinando Giugliano

Italy's Coronavirus Lockdown Tests the Limits of Democracy

Restrictions on 17 million people are the most draconian in the West, but they’re far less strict than China’s. The onus is on citizens to comply.

Empty tables.

Empty tables.

Photographer: Bloomberg/Bloomberg

Italy has adopted seemingly draconian measures to stop the outbreak of Covid-19 that has killed 366 people in the country so far and forced a further 650 into hard-pressed intensive care units. 

Some 17 million people are now in quarantine in the northern region of Lombardy and in 14 other provinces, including Venice. The government has also closed down public spaces such as gyms and swimming pools in these areas, and severely restrained the use of bars and restaurants. Theaters, cinemas and museums will be shut across the country.