US, WASHINGTON (NEWS OBSERVATORY) — On Sunday, Italy quarantined 14 provinces as well as the northern region of Lombardy with 16 million people, which make up about a quarter of the country’s population, to prevent further spread of the coronavirus epidemic.
“We created two regions. One deals with Lombardy and the other deals with different provinces. We will implement a stricter security procedure in these two areas and there will be a restriction on entry and exit,” the prime minister said. Italian Giuseppe Conte at a press conference.
So far, coronavirus has claimed 233 lives in Italy. The number of confirmed rates climbed to 5,061, making it the most hit country in Europe and one of the most affected in the world.
Along with Lombardy, quarantine included the cities of Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, Rimini, Pesaro and Urbino, Alessandria, Asti, Novara, Verbano Cusio Ossola, Vercelli, Padua, Treviso and Venice.
Conte said sporting events will take place without spectators and all other activities in all public spaces have been canceled. He added that museums, cinemas, cultural centers, ski centers, swimming pools and sports halls in the quarantine areas are closed.
Schools in all places in the quarantine will be on leave until April 3, he added.
First discovered in Wuhan, China in December, the virus, officially known as COVID-19, has spread to more than 80 countries.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the virus has claimed the lives of over 3,500 people globally and infected over 100,000 people.
As part of efforts to contain the blast, governments have closed borders and suspended land and air travel to the worst-hit countries such as China, Iran and Italy.
The WHO, which declared the epidemic an international health emergency, recently updated the global risk level to “very high”.
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Article is written and prepared by our foreign editors from different countries around the world – material edited and published by News Observatory staff in our US newsroom.