Italy will close shops, restaurants and schools across most of the country on March 15, with PM Mario Draghi warning of a “new wave” of the coronavirus outbreak.
For three days over Easter, April 3-5, there will be a total lockdown.
Italy, which one year ago imposed one of the first national lockdowns, is once again struggling to contain the rapid spread of infections.
The country has reported more than 100,000 Covid-related deaths, Europe’s second-highest tally after the UK.
Its vaccination campaign has been hit by delays, as has been seen elsewhere in the EU.
AstraZeneca has announced a further shortfall in the amount of its vaccine it can supply to the EU, blaming export restrictions imposed by some countries. It did not elaborate.
In January, the pharmaceutical company announced a large cut in the 100 million doses it had originally expected to deliver to the EU by March, sparking a public spat with European Commission.
Last week, the Italian government blocked the export of 250,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to Australia to address shortfalls of vaccines.
Elsewhere, Bulgaria, Denmark and Norway have all halted the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine over fears it causes blood clots.
On March 12, the WHO said there was no indication this was true, stressing that countries should not stop using the vaccine.
From March 15, schools, shops and restaurants will shut in more than half of Italy, including the two most populous regions containing Rome and Milan.
Residents will be required to stay at home except for work, health or other essential reasons.
The extra restrictions would last until Easter, PM Draghi’s office said, and over the Easter weekend the whole country would be turned into the high-risk “red zone”.
Cases have been rising across Italy for the past six weeks, exceeding 25,000 a day.
In a majority of Italy’s regions “hospitals and above all intensive care units are already overloaded”, the GIMBE health think-tank warned this week, the AFP reported.
The island of Sardinia is the only region where infection rates are low.
Italy has had nearly 3.2 million confirmed infections since the outbreak began last year.