Selin ATAY-TDO- The Italian army will start patrolling Italian streets amid the coronavirus emergency, as local authorities scramble to monitor the almost-total lockdown imposed nationally to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Lombardy Governor Attilio Fontana obtained the help of military forces on the streets of Milan and one of the cities worst-hit by the epidemic. Other regions, including the southern Campania, Puglia and Sicily, had already obtained the go-ahead for the use of military forces in addition to the police.

In Milan, 114 military units will be assigned to the hard task of avoiding citizens’ infractions, still surging despite the lockdown imposed by the Italian government, while the number of confirmed cases in the country continues to grow. Fontana said the military's deployment on the streets would have a deterrent effect.

Up to 20,000 soldiers are ready to “do their part”, said Italy’s Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini, who has confirmed the army’s availability to help handling an extraordinary emergency.

Lombardy’s governor addressed worries that the use of army patrols could represent a breach of the citizens’ democratic rights, saying that his call for help was supported by Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella.

Following the urgent calls of local governors and mayors, the government is working on more stringent measures to avoid that citizens leave their homes, violating the lockdown rules.

It now seems almost unavoidable that schools will remain closed well after the initially announced date of April 3, while the opening hours of supermarkets and outdoor activities will further be restricted.

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