People who tested positive for coronavirus and break quarantine could face up to five years in prison in Italy under tougher government rules. 

Ministers approved an emergency decree on Tuesday to tighten up sanctions for those who ignore measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the country which has seen the most patient deaths in the world. 

Those who go against containment measures now risk paying a fine of between €400 (£360) to €3,000 (£2,700) – up from a maximum of €206 (£187).

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Meanwhile, if people who have been quarantined after testing positive for coronavirus “intentionally violate the total ban on leaving their house”, they could face a prison sentence of between one to five years, according to the emergency law-decree

Regions may also pass stricter lockdown measures if things gets worse for them during the pandemic

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Andrea Orlando, a former minister of justice, said: “The government has decided, as we hoped, to make sanctions more effective and swift against those who do not help efforts to contain the virus and increase the risk for everyone.”

“We will get through it if we all help each other out.” 

People in Italy have been banned from leaving their house unless to get groceries, for work, medical reasons or emergencies as authorities work to battle the spread of Covid-19.

Some regions have even moved to ban exercise outside, which has also been discouraged by a leading medical doctor in the country. 

More than 100,000 people have been caught breaking lockdown rules since 11 March, according to interior ministry figures

Some Italian mayors have lashed out at those ignoring these measures, as seen in a compilation shared on social media. 

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Antonio Tutolo, from Lucera in Apulia, has raged at those still calling mobile hairdressers to their houses, asking “what the f*** is that for?”. 

Meanwhile, the president of Campania offered a veiled threat to those planning graduation parties still. 

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“We will send the police over,” Vincenzo De Luca said. “We will send flamethrowers.”

Italy has seen the most coronavirus-related deaths in the world, surpassing China – where the outbreak originated – last week when their toll rose past 3,400. 

More than 6,800 people who tested positive have died, according to official figures on Wednesday. 

Nearly 70,000 have been diagnosed with coronavirus – a flu-like disease that can develop into pneumonia – in the country, while around 8,300 have been cured. 

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