[WATCH] Coronavirus: Italy shuts factories, offices as it tightens restrictions on ugliest day yet

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte shuts down all non-essential workplaces across Italy as it combats the deadly spread of the coronavirus

Italian premier Giuseppe Conte
Italian premier Giuseppe Conte

Italy has taken the extreme step of shutting down all non-essential workplaces across the country to stem the spread of the coronavirus, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said.

The announcement was made on Saturday night after new figures showed that almost 800 new deaths were recorded in just 24 hours, making it the ugliest day yet.

In a Facebook message, Conte said that all non-essential productive activities will stop functioning until 3 April.

Factories and offices will be shut but supermarkets, food shops, pharmacies and other essential services will remain open.

READ ALSO: Italy records 800 new deaths and almost 5,000 infections in 24 hours

Conte said this was necessary to slow down the spread of the coronavirus that has ravaged the country.

“This is the most difficult crisis the country has faced since the war,” Conte said, adding the new measures were hard but the only way to safeguard everyone.

People have been asked to stay indoors but health authorities in the country have warned that many were flouting the restrictions.

Conte said the sacrifice being asked of people to stay at home and change their lifestyles was insignificant when compared to the sacrifice many others in the health sector, the forces of law and order, pharmacists, transport operators and people in the media were making to be out there on the frontline.

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