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The Italian government has announced extraordinary measures to contain the coronavirus. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Monday declared the entire country a “red zone,” meaning people should stay home except of work needs and emergencies.
In a pretty bizarre move, all of Italy and its 60 million residents have been placed under lockdown due to coronavirus. First, it was only the Lombardy when on Saturday, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte signed a decree to impose quarantine and limit movement into and out of large areas of the north, including Milan and Venice. Movements within the region will be allowed only for “non-deferrable” business or health reasons.
The so-called red zone is in Northern Italy and includes Lombardy and several other provinces. The ban of movement began on Sunday and said it will last till 3 April. In this zone, all public gatherings will be suspended and schools, museums and theaters will be closed.
In Europe, Italy is the country worst affected by the new virus, with at least 5,883 people infected and 233 deaths recorded.
No Public Gatherings in Italy Due to Coronavirus Risks
However, yesterday Conte said that restriction of movement will be imposed in the entire country due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Conte also announced that all public gatherings will be canceled. The measure, effective from Tuesday morning, was extended from the north to the rest of Italy in order to ease the burden on the national health system, he explained, adding that educational institutions will be closed until April 3.
He urged his compatriots to “stay home” and to “play their parts” in countering the epidemic. “Our habits need to be changed now,” Conte stressed.
Suspending All Sports Events
Since then, the country’s Olympic Committee announced a ban on all sporting events until April 3, as coronavirus continues to spread in the country.
Since yesterday’s update, 97 more people died, bringing the total to 463, while 724 managed to recover. A total of 9,172 of infections, including those that ended with a recovery, have been reported by the authorities, a jump of 1797 in the last 24 hours. This makes Italy the second most affected country after China, as it surpassed South Korea’s figures. The authorities also noted that 53,826 people have been tested for the virus.
The region of Lombardy reported a total of 333 deaths of people infected with the virus. The restrictive measures imposed in prisons, including a ban on family visits and leave permits, sparked riots at 27 different sites across Italy. Six people have so far died and 20 have managed to escape.
EU Cuts Council Meetings
Meanwhile, the European Union announced that the meetings of the Council of the European Union, working groups and preparatory bodies will be cut in order to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Additionally, the number of present delegates at any meeting will be reduced while all visitors and non-essential training will be canceled until further notice. Furthermore, staff meetings of the secretariat will also be reduced “as far as possible.” The Croatian presidency will have the discretion to decide which meetings should be held and which will be postponed or canceled.
Out of the top six countries with coronavirus cases, four are from the European Union as Italy has registered as many as 7,375 cases of the virus. Italy put its northern provinces on lockdown to try to contain the disease.