Police officers patrol the central Piazza del Popolo in Rome on Saturday 3rd April 2021. Italy was locked on Easter weekend to fight the Covid-19 pandemic at the time. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

Italy entered a three-day nationwide coronavirus lockdown on Saturday to prevent Easter trips and get-togethers, even as the country’s variant spike in new infections subsided.

The government announced last month that it would put all regions under the strictest lockdown of the “red zone” over the Easter weekend to limit the likelihood of contagion, taking the same precautions that it had enforced over Christmas and New Years.

Travel between regions and visits to relatives were limited until Monday. Non-essential stores were closed and restaurants and bars were only open for takeout.

“People are tired, but they understand that protecting health is essential in these times,” said Maj. Fabio Palletta, a Carabinieri military policeman who manned a checkpoint in Rome on Saturday, one of many who attended This weekend was set up across the country to ensure people were allowed to travel on the streets.

The Home Office also ordered additional foot patrols to break up large gatherings in squares and parks that are usually packed with picnic-goers over Easter.

“I’m glad they do checks. That means something is working in all this mess,” said Amato MONTANARI, who was pulled over for a check in Rome.

Italy enters the three-day Easter lockdown amid vaccination problems

A police officer patrols the central Piazza del Popolo in Rome on Saturday 3rd April 2021. Italy was locked on Easter weekend to fight the Covid-19 pandemic at the time. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

Italy, where the European outbreak began, has recorded more than 110,000 COVID-19 deaths, more than any other European country except the UK. Another 21,000 infections were reported in Italy on Saturday, along with 376 deaths.

An estimated 87% of the most recent cases in Italy have been traced back to the highly contagious variant, which was first discovered in the UK. However, the Ministry of Health reported Friday that new cases “fell slightly” for the second straight week.

With Italian hospitals still well above their COVID-19 capacity in most regions, both intensive care units and other wards, the ministry concluded that new infections are still “too high … to reduce the.” to enable current restrictive measures “.

However, Italians are angry with the country’s stumbling vaccination campaign which, despite promises to give priority to the elderly, has left many of Italy’s oldest and most vulnerable people behind while teachers, police officers and other professionals get their bumps.

Italy enters the three-day Easter lockdown amid vaccination problems

Mounted police patrol the main shopping street Via del Corso in downtown Rome on Saturday 3rd April 2021. Italy was locked on Easter weekend to fight the Covid-19 pandemic at the time. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

The Lombardy region, the largest in Italy, has suffered more COVID-19 infections and deaths than any other but has still had a stalled vaccination campaign, which was personally attended this week by Italy’s new virus czar, General Francesco Figliuolo.

“There are things that are not going well,” said Figliuolo. “We’ll write them down and fix them together.”

More than three months after the nationwide vaccination campaign began in Italy, Lombardy opened a new central appointment portal this week after the previous system sent some elderly people hundreds of kilometers from home to get a sting and others unable was to get an appointment.

The embattled regional governor of Lombardy, Attilio Fontana, admitted “some difficulties” but insisted that they had not affected the entire vaccination campaign. He said the criticism of the regional efforts was “bad”.

  • Italy enters the three-day Easter lockdown amid vaccination problems

    Italian army officers will patrol the central Piazza del Popolo in Rome on Saturday 3rd April 2021. Italy was locked on Easter weekend to fight the Covid-19 pandemic at the time. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

  • Italy enters the three-day Easter lockdown amid vaccination problems

    This Friday, March 19, 2021, file photo people are lining up to have their AstraZeneca vaccine photographed at the La Nuvola (The Cloud) convention center, which has been temporarily converted into a COVID-19 vaccination center in Rome. In some Italian regions, lawyers, judges, professors and other younger professionals were vaccinated against COVID-19 in front of Octogenarians, despite the government’s promise to give priority to Italy’s oldest citizens. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia, file)

  • Italy enters the three-day Easter lockdown amid vaccination problems

    A cyclist rides past Carabinieri police officers at the roadblock near the Colosseum in downtown Rome on Saturday 3 April 2021. Italy was locked on Easter weekend to fight the Covid-19 pandemic at the time. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

  • Italy enters the three-day Easter lockdown amid vaccination problems

    Carabinieri police officers will stop at a roadblock near the Colosseum in downtown Rome on Saturday April 3, 2021. Italy was locked on Easter weekend to fight the Covid-19 pandemic at the time. (AP Photo / Gregorio Borgia)

  • Italy enters the three-day Easter lockdown amid vaccination problems

    This Saturday, January 2, 2021, elderly people are waiting for the COVID-19 vaccine at the Don Orione convalescent home in Rome. In some Italian regions, lawyers, judges, professors and other younger professionals were vaccinated against COVID-19 in front of Octogenarians, despite the government’s promise to give priority to Italy’s oldest citizens. (AP Photo / Alessandra Tarantino, File)

Italy has given 10.8 million vaccines nationwide, although only 3.3 million of the country’s 60 million people received both doses. Lombardy, which makes up one sixth of the population and has long been proud of its health care system, has administered 1.7 million doses.

On Saturday in Sicily, a church temporarily opened its doors to become a pop-up vaccination center.

“For those who are Christians, celebrating Easter today means above all to be a good and honest citizen,” said Rev. Michele Viviano, Pastor of the Salesian Parish of Don Bosco in San Gregorio di Catania, Sicily.

“This also means working with, participating and organizing the vaccination campaign,” he said.

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