The Italian region of Lombardy, the first European epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, has ordered all bars to shut at midnight from Saturday as it battles a second wave of the disease.

All amateur sporting events have also been put on hold in the wealthy northern region where the first cases of Covid-19 in Europe emerged in February.

Under the new restrictions that will stay in effect until November 6, after 6pm bars will only be able to serve customers seated at tables, and the sale of takeaway alcohol is also banned after that time.

Lombardy, the most populous region of Italy, has also prohibited the consumption of food and drink in all public outside areas under the new rules.

On Friday Italy reported 10,000 new infections in 24 hours as cases surge despite government restrictions affecting daily life.

Lombardy, the hardest-hit area in Italy, is mostly targeting young people, with restrictions on sport, nightlife and education - it has now called for schools to alternate online and in-person lessons.

The latest order also bans visits to old people's homes unless there is authorisation from medical officials there. 

Italy's second-worst affected region of Campania in the south has also introduced new measures, including the controversial closure of schools as well as bans on parties and funeral processions.

The government of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte last week made the wearing of masks compulsory outdoors and extended a state of emergency until January 31.

According to the Italian press, Conte is also considering following France in imposing a nighttime curfew.

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