Italy reported 620 new coronavirus-related deaths on Friday, up from 414 a day before, as the government strengthened restrictions in some regions to stop the contagion.

The Italian Health Ministry also reported 17,533 new daily infections, slightly down from 18,020 on Thursday.

On Friday, the government decided to tighten anti-virus measures in the hard-hit Lombardy region and four other areas, as it tries to reverse a recent acceleration in the infection rate.

Health Minister Roberto Speranza signed a new order including Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia Romagna in the north, and Sicily and Calabria in the south, among the medium-risk “orange” regions, starting from Jan. 10. This means that in those areas people’s movements will be strictly limited, while bars and restaurants will remain closed.

Authorities are also trying to speed up the pace of the national vaccination campaign, which has been lagging behind in some regions, including the highly populated Lombardy.

According to the latest data, more than 413,000 people have been vaccinated across Italy.

Amid the health emergency, the government of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte continues to face political instability, as the threat of his coalition partner Matteo Renzi to bring down the government remains concrete.

Conte has been working on a new version of Italy’s economic recovery plan, including some of the requests presented by Renzi’s Italia Viva party. But it’s still unclear if that would be enough to ensure the government’s survival.


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