From the wire services in Europe: Italy saw a second night of street protests against curfews as it reported another daily record on Saturday.
After clashes in the southern city of Naples on Friday night, police again faced off against dozens of masked protestors in the centre of Rome after the far-right Forza Nuova group called for a protest against the curfews.
Some 200 masked militants belonging to the neo-fascist group hurled projectiles at police and set rubbish bins alight in the second night of street protests.
Police arrested seven protesters and reported two officers injured, according to the Repubblica daily.
The government is planning further restrictions to contain a resurgence of the pandemic, and prime minister Giuseppe Conte has said he wants to avoid a repeat of the blanket lockdown earlier in the year. But a number of regions – including Campania, the area around Naples, Lazio around Rome, and Lombardy – have imposed overnight curfews.
The northern region of Piedmont and Sicily in the south will follow next week and other regions are expected to match them. The central government is expected to announce more measures soon.
Earlier, health ministry data showed 19,644 new Covid cases and 151 dead as the disease surged in areas like Lombardy, Milan, Campania and Lazio.
Conte pledged to speed up help for businesses suffering in the crisis but said the weeks ahead would be very difficult. “We cannot lower our guard,” he added.
According to a draft decree circulated on Saturday, public gyms and swimming pools may be closed and bars and restaurants told to shut from 6 p.m., while people will be encouraged not to travel outside their home districts.
Like many authorities across Europe, the Italian government is desperate not to close down the economy completely but is facing growing public anger at renewed restrictions being imposed to limit public gatherings.
With public health services coming under strain, authorities have reopened temporary intensive care facilities built during the first phase.
Despite this, Italy’s top public health body warned on Friday services were approaching crisis point.