Year after COVID first hit, Italy faces new wave: PM

Measure comes as cases and hospitalisations rise in Italy, which recently passed grim milestone of 100,000 deaths.

Video Transcript

RORY CHALLANDS: At a vaccination center at Fiumicino Airport. Italy's prime minister Mario Draghi acknowledged the discomfort his country is about to go through.

MARIO DRAGHI: [SPEAKING ITALIAN]

INTERPRETER: I am aware that today's measures will have consequences for the education of children, for the economy, and also for the psychological state of all of us. The president of the Red Cross reminded me of the psychological difficulty that some people have suffered, especially the elderly. But I think it is the same for everybody, especially for people who live alone, who today feel even more alone. It's difficult for them to see the people who they love. These measures are necessary to avoid a deterioration that would make even more stringent measures inevitable.

RORY CHALLANDS: Ahead of the Easter weekend national lockdown, eight regions, including the capital, Rome, and one autonomous province are to bring in the restrictions from Monday. Coronavirus infections rose by 10% this week, and officials have warned the situation is worsening, with new, more infectious variants gaining ground.

In recent days, more places have become red zones, the highest tier of localized lockdown. One of them is Frosinone, in the Lazio region. Some areas have infection rates of 23% of those tested, higher than seen earlier in the pandemic.

- [SPEAKING ITALIAN]

INTERPRETER: I am worried. My 14-year-old daughter is being taught virtually. She's losing her best years of adolescence like this. From morning to night, she's inside the house in her pajamas.

RORY CHALLANDS: Italy is one of several European countries to have at least partially restricted use of the AstraZeneca vaccine while reports of blood clots are investigated. But the prime minister insisted the inoculation campaign would carry on.

MARIO DRAGHI: [SPEAKING ITALIAN]

INTERPRETER: The European Medicines Agency is reviewing the suspected cases, but has also advised that the vaccine should continue to be used.

RORY CHALLANDS: For Italy, as elsewhere, widespread vaccinations are seen as essential for a return to normality. Rory Challands, Al Jazeera.