ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s southern regions warned hundreds of thousands of its people who emigrated to the wealthy north of the country not to return home, amid fears of an exodus from a no-go zone set up to halt an outbreak of coronavirus.
Passengers wearing masks alight from a train that has arrived from Milan, a town that is now under lockdown after the government decreed a massive no-go zone set up to contain an outbreak of coronavirus, in Catania, Sicily, Italy March 8, 2020. REUTERS/Antonio Parrinello
The unprecedented lockdown was announced by the government overnight and will affect some 16 million inhabitants in the region of Lombardy, which is centered on the financial capital Milan, and 14 prosperous provinces also in the north.
An estimated two million people have left the underdeveloped south in the past 15 years in search of work and hundreds of thousands of them have settled in the north. With a four-week shutdown looming, many of them are expected to try to return to their old family homes to sit out the contagion.
However, the governor of Puglia, the heel of Italy’s boot, made an impassioned plea on Facebook for them to remain in the north, the epicenter of Europe’s worst coronavirus outbreak.
“I speak to you as if you were my children, my brothers, my nephews and nieces: stop and go back,” said Michele Emiliano. “Get off at the first train station, do not catch planes … turn your cars around, get off your buses. Do not bring the Lombard,…
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