The prime minister added that all sporting events – including football matches – were being suspended nationwide.
In an earlier interview with La Repubblica newspaper, Mr Conte said of the outbreak: “These days, I have been thinking about the old speeches of [Winston] Churchill – it is our darkest hour, but we will make it”.
What are the restrictions?
Mr Conte described the measures as “I stay home” – with people forbidden to assemble in public.
“No more nightlife; we can’t allow this anymore since they are occasions for contagion,” he said.
The restrictions are similar to those earlier applied to the worst affected Lombardy region, and 14 other provinces.
China, which has recorded the highest number of fatalities, reported just 40 new cases of Covid-19, the lowest since 20 January.
Although this indicates that the spread there is slowing, senior officials warned against reducing vigilance.
In other developments:
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the threat of a pandemic is “very real”
Canada has confirmed the first death related to the virus – an elderly male patient in a care home in Vancouver, British Columbia
In France, Culture Minister Franck Riester has become the first member of the government to be infected with the virus. His team said he had spent several days of the past week in parliament, where a number of other cases have been confirmed
In the US, the number of confirmed cases now exceeds 500