Epidemic in Italy on February 22 2020 08:23 AM (UTC).
Italy registered 30,201 deaths due to the novel coronavirus, after an increase of 240, the Civil Protection Agency reported on Friday.
The country has reported a total of 217,185 infections, however, the number of new cases has been falling steadily.Experts, however, suggest the numbers are significantly worse than is officially known, and death rates likewise are far higher than usual.After Britain, Italy has seen the most deaths in Europe due to the virus.On Monday, the government eased some of the measures that were part of the lockdown to contain the virus.Some regions say this easing does not go far enough.Meanwhile, the region of South Tyrol is allowing retailers to reopen, and is due to permit restaurants, bars, museums, hairdressers, and more to restart business on Monday.
In another sign of encouragement, Italy reported 415 new COVID-19 deaths in 24 hours, the smallest daily increase since March 18, fresh figures showed.Saturday's number of new deaths was five fewer from Friday's 420, according to figures from the country's Civil Protection Department. It raised the nationwide fatalities to 26,384 since the pandemic broke out in northern Italy earlier this year, reports Xinhua news agency.Total active infections stood at 105,847, down by 680 cases compared to the previous day, according to the latest data. This is the sixth consecutive daily drop in the number of active infections in Italy.The overall number of cases in Italy stood at 195,351.Italy entered a national lockdown on March 10 to contain the pandemic.
The lockdown, which is expected to last until May 3, will be followed by a so-called "Phase Two," which involves "the gradual resumption of social, economic and productive activities", according to the government.Speaking at a televised press conference on Saturday, Extraordinary Commissioner for the Coronavirus Emergency Domenico Arcuri said that winning the war against the new coronavirus will depend on individual decisions once the national lockdown ends on May 3.Arcuri said that blood testing for antibodies to the new coronavirus - to find out what percentage, if any, of the population has unknowingly come in contact with the virus at some point - will begin on May 4.The serological survey is a key part of Italy's public health strategy to contain the virus during Phase Two of the emergency, when businesses will gradually reopen and isolation measures will be eased after the end of the lockdown.
Italy reported its first drop on Monday in the number of people currently suffering from the novel coronavirus since it recorded its first infection in February.Those receiving intensive care treatment also fell to the lowest level in a month as Europe's hardest-hit country began to see the first direct health benefits of its economically devastating lockdown.The civil protection service said 108,237 people were either being treated in hospital or were recovering at home after testing positive - 20 fewer than the total reported on Sunday."For the first time, we have seen a new positive development: the number of currently positive has declined," civil protection service chief Angelo Borrelli told reporters."The number in intensive care is the lowest it has been in a month," he added.The Mediterranean country's death toll still rose by 454 to 24,114 - second only to the United States.However, the figures are widely regarded as benchmarks rather than actual tallies - most Italian doctors believe the numbers of deaths and infections are far higher than those officially reported.Those who died at home or in care facilities are not included and some of the hardest-hit regions have only been testing the most sick patients.Some experts believe the true extent of the damage caused by the pandemic will be revealed in the number of excess deaths registered in the past few months.In northern Italy, where the outbreak first exploded, some provinces have seen their usual number of deaths over a single month increase by a factor of four or five even when the official virus tolls were relatively small.But the decline in the number of current official cases still marks an important data point in Italy's calculation of what restrictions to lift and which to extend when the current lockdown expires on May 4.The economic and psychological toll of Italy's six-week lockdown has also been hard to quantify.An estimate released over the weekend said half of Italy's official workforce of 23 million have sought government aid because they were either furloughed or unemployed.Scientists are reportedly pushing the government to conduct psychological tests on a sample of the population to determine how long people can stay confined to their homes.The Corriere della Sera newspaper said Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte will announce a new set of social guidelines this week that could include the tests.Italy entered into a progressively more restrictive lockdown over the first half of March that has since been replicated by most European nations.Its 60 million citizens have been barred from walking more than 200 metres (650 feet) from their homes without a significant reason.Reports of domestic abuse have surged and scientists worry about the impact of such isolation on the elderly and the more vulnerable.Conte's government is now debating how it can lift the stay-at-home order and reopen businesses while there is still no coronavirus cure or vaccine.Some regions took the incremental step of opening bookshops on Monday to see how social distancing measures can be safely applied.
Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced on Friday that the government is extending the state of emergency and state-imposed blockade to May 3 to limit the spread of the coronavirus, although some stores may be reopened from April 14."This is a difficult but necessary decision that I take full political responsibility for," he said. He said restrictive measures are working and opening the country early is risky.The restrictions on the movement and closure of most shops and businesses in Italy were imposed on March 9th and were due to end on Monday (April 13th).
It is just a kiss blown over a video call on a computer tablet to a loved one miles away.But to elderly patients suffering from the coronavirus in the Uboldo Hospital in this northern Italian town, it is as much of a lifeline as their oxygen masks.Doctors up and down Italy, the country with the most deaths from the pandemic, say one of the hardest things for patients is not being able to have their loved ones by their side because of quarantine restrictions."From a psychological point of view, this certainly is the worst aspect of this emergency," said the hospital's chief anaesthetist, Dr. Massimo Zambon.So, Zambon and his colleagues are using tablets donated by the city and private citizens to ease the pain of distance and loneliness. Most of the patients are elderly and do not know how to use the tablets, so hospital staff make the calls and hold them up to their faces."Right now, this is the only possible solution, the easiest and most effective way to create contact between the patient and the family," Zambon said."And I must say, this is very much appreciated by the patients, but above all by relatives at home who are worried and are awaiting news," he said, speaking in a hospital corridor.More than 17,000 people have died of the coronavirus in Italy. The relatively small Uboldo Hospital is in the Lombardy region, which has borne the brunt of the epidemic.Around 90% of Uboldo's patients are coronavirus victims. Since the crisis began, the hospital has tripled the number of its beds to try to cope.On Tuesday morning, doctors in protective gear removed an oxygen mask from the face of an elderly man and held up a tablet.The man waved and a relative on the other end of the call blew him a kiss. It lasted less than a minute and then the oxygen mask went back on."Video calls are obviously short because there is so much to do. These calls are a bit cold because there is no real contact between people when they talk, so obviously everything is more difficult," Zambon said.In another room, a 69-year-old woman was being tested to see if she had the virus, and staff held up a tablet so she could see her family."If I have it, I'll stay here, otherwise I'll come home," the woman said. "They're all efficient here, they're all kind ... they're all angels here, really, if it was not for them and the sacrifices they make..."There was no need for her to finish the sentence. Everyone on both sides knew exactly what she meant.

Italy has seen a small dip in the number of new coronavirus infections but daily fatalities have risen slightly as the country still waits to flatten the curve.The death toll rose by 760 to 13,915, while the number of confirmed cases grew by 4668 to hit 115,242.Pressure on hospitals in Lombardy continued to ease, with more than 800 people recovered and 165 fewer people admitted with Covid-19 compared to a day earlier.Intensive care units are still saturated, but overall, Lombardy added just under 1,300 new positive cases, with about half of those infected being treated at home.More than 10,000 medics have been infected nationwide and 69 doctors have died, according to the National Institutes of Health and the Italian association of doctors.Meanwhile the Vatican recorded its seventh coronavirus case and extended its partial lockdown of activities until May 4.The Vatican says a Vatican employee tested positive after having been on home quarantine since mid-March because his wife, who works in a hospital, was infected.The Vatican previously had six cases, including a high-ranking official who lived in the same residence as Pope Francis.The Vatican has said the pope and his closest advisers haven't been infected.Francis also Thursday issued a decree extending the suspension of activities of the Vatican City State's criminal tribunal until May 4.The Holy See says it has reduced its activities to only work essential for the functioning of the headquarters of the universal Catholic Church.Francis' Holy Week and Easter services, which begin Sunday with Palm Sunday, are being conducted without the faithful present. The figures were revealed as the head of the European Commission apologised to Italy for a lack of solidarity from Europe in tackling its coronavirus crisis, but promised greater help in dealing with the economic fallout.There has been widespread dismay in Italy over Europe's response to the pandemic, starting with an initial failure to send medical aid, followed by a refusal amongst northern nations to endorse joint bonds to mitigate the cost of recovery.The far-right League party has jumped on the discontent to call into question Italy's continued membership of the 27-nation bloc, while even staunch pro-Europeans have expressed consternation at the lack of empathy and support.Italy has recorded 13,155 coronavirus deaths in just six weeks, more than anywhere else in the world, and registered 110,574 confirmed cases, second only to the United States.In a letter published in the Italian daily La Repubblica, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said too many EU countries had initially focused on their own problems.'They did not realise that we can only defeat this pandemic together, as a Union. This was harmful and could have been avoided,' she wrote, adding: 'Today Europe is rallying to Italy's side.'The main bone of contention is a request by Italy and eight other countries to issue 'recovery bonds' on behalf of all euro zone countries to help fund efforts to rebuild national economies that are expected to dive deep into recession.Conservative leaders in wealthy states such as Germany, the Netherlands and Austria have so far recoiled at the idea of issuing bonds with highly indebted nations, such as Italy.
The coronavirus pandemic has claimed 10,779 lives in locked-down Italy by Sunday with the cumulative total infections reaching 97,689, according to new data released by the Civil Protection Department.A total of 756 COVID-19 patients died over the last 24 hours, the second consecutive fall in the death toll after reaching an all-time high Friday.The total number of patients in intensive care rose by 50 compared to a day earlier, according to Civil Protection Department Chief Angelo Borrelli, even as the total number of active cases of coronavirus in Italy climbed by more than 3,815 - roughly in line with recent days.Borrelli said the total number of people confirmed to have coronavirus in Italy - combining active cases, deaths, and recoveries - climbed to 97,689 Sunday, 5,217 above the level recorded a day earlier.Borelli said the number of new cases was higher than 3,651 a day earlier, but evidence showed that new cases could be plateauing.
The total death toll reached 10,779, a day after Italy became the first country to record more than 10,000 deaths from the global pandemic.
Of the 73,880 Italians currently infected by the outbreak, 42,558 are recovering at home, while 27,386 are hospitalized with symptoms and 3,906 are in intensive care. Those figures compare to 39,533 recovering in-home, 26,676 hospitalized with symptoms, and 3,856 in intensive care.
Italy recorded a shocking spike in coronavirus deaths Friday with 969 new victims, the worst daily record for any country since the pandemic began.The infection rate however continued its downward trend, with the civil protection agency reporting nearly 86,500 confirmed cases in Italy - a 7.4 percent increase, down from around 8.0 percent in previous days.
More than 680 people died from COVID-19 in Italy in the 24 hours to Wednesday, the Italian Civil Protection Agency said, as concerns grew that the coronavirus was spreading more toward the south of the nation.The death toll increased by 683 on Wednesday. That was lower than a spike of 743 on Tuesday, but more than the totals of the previous two days and the third-highest daily tally since the outbreak emerged in northern regions on Feb. 21.Italy has seen more fatalities than any other nation, with the latest figures showing that 7,503 people had died in barely a month.The northern region of Lombardy, by far the hardest-hit, showed a steep decline in the number of deaths and new infections, raising hopes that the epidemic might be slowing at its original epicenter.However, optimism was tempered by warnings from the south, where contagion and deaths are far less widespread, but are rising steadily and could overwhelm a health service that is much less well-equipped than in the richer north of the nation."At this point there is the real prospect that Lombardy's tragedy is about to become the south's tragedy," Vincenzo de Luca, president of the Campania region around Naples, wrote in an open letter to Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte."We are on the eve of a major expansion of infections which may not be sustainable," he said, complaining that the government had failed to provide Campania with promised ventilators and other life-saving equipment.So far there have been 74 deaths in Campania, the worst-affected region in the south.The central region of Lazio, around Rome, has registered 95 fatalities.The total number of confirmed cases in Italy rose to 74,386 from 69,176, the agency said.The rise of 7.5 percent was the lowest since the outbreak began, but only severely ill people are being tested and agency head Angelo Borrelli said this week that the true number of infections is probably 10 times those officially recorded.Borrelli was not present at the customary news conference to illustrate the latest figures because he came down with a fever and was being tested.With Italy in lockdown for the past two weeks and its economy on its knees, Conte on Wednesday promised a second 25 billion euros (US$27 billion) stimulus package next month, at least as much as the one he adopted earlier this month.With his approval ratings at record highs, Conte appealed to the opposition to get behind the government's efforts and halt its attacks on his handling of the crisis until it is over."There will be a time for everything, but now is the time for action and responsibility," he told the Italian Chamber of Deputies.One source of potential conflict for Conte was defused when the government reached an agreement with trade unions, who had threatened strikes because they wanted more companies shuttered to protect workers' health.Conte agreed to extend the production sectors that would be temporarily closed because they are not deemed essential to the supply chain.
The death toll from the Covid-19 illness in Italy has nearly reached 5,000, as health authorities reported on Saturday that another 793 people have fallen victim to the coronavirus.Saturday's staggering increase of nearly 20 percent is by far the largest daily rise since the outbreak began a month ago.Officials announced that 4,825 people have died from the disease in the Mediterranean nation, which surpassed China to become the worst-hit country in the world on Thursday.The total number of cases across Italy rose to 53,578, an increase of over 5,000 from a previous tally of 47,021.The worst-affected region of Lombardy remains in a critical situation, with 3,095 deaths and 25,515 cases. The situation in the region has become so severe that the Italian military had to move dozens of coffins from the cemetery in the town of Bergamo to other areas because local funeral providers were overwhelmed.Authorities also announced that 6,072 people have now fully recovered from the disease in Italy, an increase of 943 on the day before. However, a total of 2,857 people are in intensive care in hospitals around the country.A lockdown introduced by the Italian government on March 12 shut down most businesses and banned public gatherings as the country tried to clamp down on the outbreak. Despite the extreme measures, the number of new cases and deaths has continued to spiral.
ITALY's death toll has soared to more than 4,000, with 627 more deaths reported in the country.Italy's Civil Protection Department has announced there have been 4,032 people who have succumbed to the effects of the coronavirus after being infected. 37,860 are also reported to be sick from the virus at present. This makes the country the most affected nation outside of China.Europe has now been deemed by the World Health Organisation as the epicentre of the virus, after its first cases were reported in China.As a result of the severity of the illness across the country, a lockdown was imposed on March 12.This ordered all Italians to remain at home, unless travelling for food supplies or to the pharmacy. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte described the lockdown measures as necessary to prevent "the collapse of the system".However Mr Conte also warned it would not be possible to return to life as before immediately after the lockdown was lifted. As part of the restrictive measures, bars, restaurants and shops have closed, with Italians told to stay inside and self-isolate as much as possible. China has never reported more than 150 deaths in a single day, whereas until Friday, Italy had never recorded more than 475 deaths daily.The Civil Protection Agency in Italy has said the total number of cases has risen by 14.6 percent to 47,021 total from 41,035.The northern region of Lombardy, has, thus far, been the hardest hit by the outbreak of the disease. Thousands remain in intensive care as a result of the virus.
Italy passed a grim milestone on Thursday when it overtook China as the country with most reported deaths from the new coronavirus sweeping the planet.The world has stepped up its war to try to contain the rapid spread of COVID-19, with several countries imposing lockdowns that are keeping tens of millions of people trapped in their homes.But the death toll has soared in Europe even as China saw a glimmer of hope with zero new domestic cases reported for the first time.Italy announced another 427 fatalities on Thursday, taking its total to 3,405, according to an AFP tally.China, where the outbreak first emerged in December last year, has officially reported 3,245 deaths.Globally, the death toll from the virus - whose main symptoms are a dry cough and fever - has risen to over 9,000.
Countries have tightened border controls and unleashed nearly a trillion dollars to prop up the teetering world economy, only to see the once-in-a-century pandemic seemingly spiral further out of control.China listed no new domestic infections for the first time since the outbreak first erupted in the central city of Wuhan in December, before spreading worldwide.It appeared to have staunched the virus with strict measures including a complete quarantine of Wuhan since January, meaning the number of infections and deaths in the rest of the world have surpassed those in China.But there were fears that Asia faces a second wave of cases imported from abroad, with 34 new cases reported in China, the highest figure for two weeks.US President Donald Trump, who has come under fire for his response to the crisis, charged Thursday that the world was paying for China's lack of transparency on the outbreak of the new coronavirus there several months ago."It could have been contained to that one area of China where it started. And certainly the world is paying a big price for what they did," he said.As the toll surged in his country, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the national lockdown, which has been copied around Europe, would be prolonged to April 3, shattering hopes of a quick end to the crisis."We will not be able to return immediately to life as it was before," he said.France also mooted extending the two-week lockdown ordered this week by President Emmanuel Macron, as the interior minister blasted "idiots" who flout home confinement rules and put others at risk.The disease continued to hit high-profile figures with EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and Monaco's Prince Albert II among those testing positive.With countries paralysed by the pandemic and stock markets imploding, policymakers this week unleashed a wave of measures to shore up the global economy.The European Central Bank late Wednesday announced a 750-billion-euro bond-buying scheme, dubbed the "big bazooka"."Extraordinary times require extraordinary action. There are no limits to our commitment to the euro," ECB chief Christine Lagarde said.In the United States, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is urging Congress to pass a $1-trillion emergency stimulus package immediately, with many economists saying the US is already now in deep recession.Trump has said he views himself as a "wartime president", even as his administration faced growing criticism over a lack of testing for coronavirus and for the speed of its response.
The US has so far shied away from the sweeping restrictions used in China and many European countries, although the streets of many of its major cities have emptied as local curbs come into effect.European and US stocks staged a rebound on the stimulus news, although Asian markets took another beating.But the sense of impending doom continues to cast a pall over the world economy with airlines, carmakers and others all warning of bleak times ahead.
The battle is only just beginning across the rest of the world, with the shadow of the virus lengthening across Africa.The Nigerian mega-city of Lagos announced it would shut its schools while Burkina Faso confirmed the first death in sub-Saharan Africa.Russia reported its first death and even the Pacific nation of Fiji said it had its first case.The UN warned that as nations bring in shutdowns and travel bans, some three billion people lack even the most basic weapons to protect themselves from the virus: soap and running water.World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries to "come together as one against a common enemy: an enemy against humanity".Countries are taking increasingly drastic steps to stem infections, with Australia and New Zealand banning non-residents from arriving, and India imposing a one-day nationwide curfew.Britain closed dozens of London Underground stations and shut down schools, although the government denied reports it was about to lock down the capital.While the EU has closed its borders to outsiders, in many countries bars, restaurants and most shops have closed their doors until further notice, bringing life in Europe's normally bustling cities to a halt.The virus also continues to hit sports and cultural events, with Greece handing over the Olympic flame to Tokyo 2020 organisers at a ceremony held behind closed doors amid calls for the games to be postponed.English football also extended its shutdown until at least April 30.Interpol warned that criminals around the world were cashing in on the pandemic by offering fake or sub-standard medical products like surgical masks.Countries are also working to combat hoarding.As others stockpiled toilet paper and pasta, the French are thronging bakeries for their famed baguettes."We've seen people come in who want to buy 50 baguettes at a time," said Matthieu Labbe of France's Federation of Bakeries. "There's something like a psychosis in some people."
About four hundred and seventy five people are dead in Italy within twenty four hours, making it the world's worst affected country after China. BBC noted that there are a total of 35,713 confirmed cases in the country, with more than 4,000 having successfully recovered. Lombardy, the worst-hit region, recorded 319 deaths in one day.Italy is the world's worst affected country after China, where the virus originated last year. At least 8,758 people have died, most in China.
In the last 24 hours, another 349 people have died in Italy from the new coronavirus, bringing the total death toll to 2158, or an increase of 19% overnight, France Press reported.The number of people infected in the country has increased from 24,747 to 27,980 people, or an increase of 13% in 24 hours, the lowest increase since the first infected people were detected on February 21st.There are 1,851 people in emergency rooms.
Italy's coronavirus cases increased by over 3,500 cases in the past 24 hours with 368 deaths coming as a result of the pandemic, Head of Italy's Civil Protection Department Angelo Borrelli announced on Sunday."Unfortunately, the number of deaths is 368", Borrelli said at a briefing, bringing the total number to 1,809.Nonetheless, 369 people have fully recovered from coronavirus in the past 24 hours, according to the health authorities.At the same time, more than 3,500 new cases have been registered, taking the overall number - including recoveries - to over 24,700 cases.Italy remains the worst-hit nation in Europe and the fastest spreading number of cases in the world, despite having gone into complete lockdown last week.The World Health Organization on Friday declared that the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic has moved from China, where new cases reported have drastically decreased, to Europe, where most nations are seeing a climb in infections and fatalities.
The death toll from coronavirus in Italy has jumped by 250 in the last 24 hours, the biggest daily increase ever recorded by any country, as the worst-affected Lombardy region asked for a complete shutdown of factories and offices.The government this week imposed drastic curbs nationwide, shutting bars, restaurants and most shops, and banning non-essential travel in an effort to halt the worst outbreak of the disease outside China.The measures so far show no sign of slowing the number of deaths, which rose by 25% in a day to 1,266, the head of the Civil Protection Agency said on Friday.The total number of cases rose to 17,660 from 15,113 the day before, an increase of some 17%.
Italy has had 1,016 deaths and identified more than 15,000 cases after carrying out more than 73,000 tests on an unspecified number of people.
Some 10,590 people are currently infected with the coronavirus in Italy, a rise of 2,076 on Tuesday, Civil Protection Chief and emergency commissioner Angelo Borrelli said Wednesday. The number of deaths has risen to 827, 196 more than Tuesday, ANSA reports. Some 1,045 people have recovered from the coronavirus in Italy, 41 more than Tuesday, he said. The total number of cases in Italy, including people who have died, those who have recovered and those who are currently infected, has climbed to 12,462. Borrelli said the growth «is following the same trend as the last few days» and a factor in the big rise registered on Wednesday was that 600 of the new cases were actually from Tuesday but they were not available in time to be included in the data released yesterday. Indeed, there were only 529 new cases on Tuesday with respect to Monday, a rise of 6.6%. Wednesday's increase of 24.6% was in line with the previous rises.
The death toll from the outbreak in Italy has jumped by 168 to 631, an increase of 36 percent, the Civil Protection Agency said on Tuesday, the largest rise in absolute numbers since the contagion came to light on Feb. 21.The total number of cases in Italy, the European country hardest hit by the virus in Europe, rose to 10,149 from a previous 9,172, an increase of 10.7 percent.The head of the agency said that, of those originally infected, 1,004 had fully recovered compared to 724 the day before. Some 877 people were in intensive care against a previous 733.
Italy has extended its emergency coronavirus measures, which include travel restrictions and a ban on public gatherings, to the entire country.On Monday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte ordered people to stay home and seek permission for essential travel.He said the measures were designed to protect the most vulnerable. "There is no more time," he said in a TV address.Italy's coronavirus death toll jumped from 366 to 463 on Monday. It is the worst-hit country after China.The number of confirmed infection also increased by 24% from Sunday, official figures showed.Cases of the virus have been confirmed in all 20 Italian regions.Mr Conte said the best thing was for people to stay at home. "We're having an important growth in infection... and of deaths," he said in an evening address."The whole of Italy will become a protected zone," he added."We all must give something up for the good of Italy. We have to do it now."This is why I decided to adopt even more strong and severe measures to contain the advance... and protect the health of all citizens."In an earlier interview with La Repubblica newspaper, Mr Conte said of the outbreak: "I have been thinking about the old speeches of [Winston] Churchill - it is our darkest hour, but we will make it".Mr Conte described the measures as "I stay home" - with people forbidden to gather in public. "No more nightlife; we can't allow this anymore since they are occasions for contagion," he said.All sporting events - including football matches - are suspended nationwide. Schools and universities will remain closed until 3 April.The government said only those with a valid work or family reason that cannot be postponed will be allowed to travel.Passengers departing on flights will have to justify themselves, as will all those who arrive by plane.There are controls at train stations to check the temperatures of passengers. Cruise ships are also forbidden to dock at various ports.Earlier on Monday, seven inmates died amid riots at prisons across the country after authorities suspended all visits as part of attempts to control the spread of the disease.The trouble began in the northern city of Modena at the Sant'Anna prison.It is thought that at least two of the dead lost their lives to drug overdoses after they raided a prison hospital for the heroin substitute methadone.At San Vittore prison in Milan, detainees set fire to a cell block, then climbed onto the roof through windows and started waving banners, officials said.
At a prison in the southern city of Foggia, dozens of inmates broke out of the building during protests. Many were quickly recaptured, Italy's Ansa news agency reported. Nine are still missing.There were also riots at other prisons in northern Italy and at facilities in Naples and Rome.The number of infections worldwide is now more than 111,000, with about 3,890 deaths.Everyone arriving in Israel will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced.Iran has reported 43 new deaths related to the disease in the past 24 hours. At least 237 people have died and 7,161 have been infected across the country since mid-February, although the real figures are believed to be far higher.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
A cruise ship carrying thousands of people who were stranded for days due to a coronavirus outbreak has docked at the port of Oakland, near San Francisco
Shares around the world had their worst day since the financial crisis amid concerns about the economic cost of the outbreak
The coronavirus outbreaks in China and South Korea appear to be slowing, as countries elsewhere in the world adopt drastic measures to try and stamp out the infection.In Italy, where some 16 million people in Lombardy and other parts of the north are now under quarantine, there were 133 deaths reported on Sunday, bringing the total to 366.More than 7,000 people in the country have been confirmed to have the virus.
One quarter of Italy's population is in lockdown under a new emergency decree Sunday.Italy has experienced more COVID-19 deaths than any other country outside China.After more than 230 deaths, the government has decided to lockdown the northern part of the country, including the Lombardy region and the financial capital, Milan. In addition, Italy will shutter 14 other provinces, including Veneto, home of Venice.Travel into and out the areas will be highly restricted until early next month, as the country seeks to slow the tide of fatalities from the virus. Museums, theaters, cinemas and other entertainment venues have also been ordered to close.Italy has also asked retired doctors to return to service to help halt the spread of the disease.In a break with centuries of tradition, the pope delivered the annual Angelus prayer live Sunday in Saint Peter's Square and he did not appear on the papal balcony to great the faithful. The Vatican which has already reported one coronavirus case is hoping to keep crowd size down in the tiny city-state in its attempt to stop the virus.
Pope Francis delivered the prayer "via livestream by Vatican News and on screens in Saint Peter's Square," the Vatican said in a statement.Iran said Sunday the coronavirus has killed 49 more people in the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 194. The Middle Eastern country has 6,566 confirmed cases.In China, a hotel used to quarantine people with the virus collapsed Sunday. At least six people were killed in the incident.The virus first erupted in China late last year.Reuters reports that at least two federal health screeners at Los Angeles International Airport have tested positive for the coronavirus and have been ordered to self-quarantine until March 17. The news agency said screeners, many of them federal workers, had already "asked their supervisors . . . to change official protocols and require stronger masks."The Grand Princess cruise ship, hit by a coronavirus outbreak, is scheduled to dock in Oakland, California, Monday. The ship has been held at sea without a dock since last, week when San Francisco refused to allow the ship to return there because of the outbreak. The Grand Princess is carrying more than 3,500 passengers and crew.Worldwide, there were more than 106,000 infections Sunday, while the death toll has surpassed 3,500.Bahrain has announced it will hold its Formula 1 Grand Prix later this month, but without any spectators. "Given the continued spread of COVID -19 globally, convening a major sporting event, which is open to the public and allows thousands of international travellers and local fans to interact in close proximity would not be the right thing to do at the present time," the Bahrain International Circuit said Sunday.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced early Sunday that the entire region of Lombardy and a number of provinces in other regions were put under lockdown as the coronavirus continued to spread throughout the country.The new measures will apply to about a quarter of the Italian population and will be in force at least until April 3.In the middle of the night, Conte signed a decree that imposes new restrictions to the movement of people in the region of Lombardy and in a number of northern provinces.The entry and exit to and from these areas will be allowed only in exceptional cases.Italy on Saturday saw its biggest daily increase in coronavirus cases since the outbreak broke out in the north of the country on Feb. 21.In its daily update, Italy's civil protection agency said the number of people with the coronavirus rose by 1,247 in the last 24 hours, taking the total to 5,883. Another 36 people also died as a result of the virus, taking the total to 233.
Some 3,916 people are now infected with the coronavirus in Italy, 620 more than yesterday, and 197 dead, 49 up, emergency commissioner and civil protection chief Angelo Borrelli said Friday, ANSA reported. Some 523 have recovered, 109 more than yesterday, he said. The percentage of recovered is 11.28% of the total and the dead 4.25% of total, he said. Some 462 are in intensive care, 111 up on yesterday. There are 2,008 infected in Lombardy, 816 in Emilia Romagna, 454 in Veneto, 139 in Piedmont, 155 in Marche, 57 in Campania, 24 in Liguria, 78 in Tuscany, 50 nel Lazio, 28 in Friuli Venezia Giulia, 22 in Sicily, 15 in Puglia, 9 in Abruzzo, 10 in Trentino, 12 in Molise, 16 in Umbria, 4 in the province of Bolzano, 4 in Calabria, 5 in Sardinia, 3 in Basilicata, and 7 in Valle d'Aosta. The victims are 135 in Lombardy (37 up on yesterday), 37 in Emilia Romagna (+7), 12 in Veneto (+2), 4 in Marche, 4 in Piemonte (+2) 3 in Liguria and one each in Lazio and Puglia. Overall there have been 4,636 total infections, including the victims and the recovered. As for swabs, some 36,359 have been taken of which moer than 30,000 in Lombardy, Emilia Romagna and Veneto.
Some 3,296 people have now been infected with the coronavirus, 590 more than Wednesday, and 148 have died with it, 41 more, emergency commissioner and civil protection chief Angelo Borrelli said Thursday.Some 414 people have recovered, 138 more than Wednesday, he said. There are 1,777 infected in Lombardy, 658 in Emilia Romagna, 380 in Veneto, 106 in Piedmont, 120 in Marche, 45 in Campania, 21 in Liguria, 60 in Tuscany, 41 in Lazio, 21 in Friuli Venezia Giulia, 16 in Sicily, 12 in Puglia, 8 in Abruzzo, 7 in Trentino, 7 in Molise, 9 in Umbria, 1 in the province of Bolzano, 2 in Calabria, 2 in Sardinia, one in Basilicata, and 2 in Valle d'Aosta.
Some 2,706 people are infected with the coronavirus in Italy, 443 more than Tuesday, and 107 people have died with the virus, 28 up, emergency commissioner and civil protection chief Angelo Borrelli said Wednesday.Some 276 have now recovered, 116 more than Tuesday, he said. The rise in those cured was 72.5%, the biggest in the last few days. Some 297 of those infected are in intensive care, 66 up on Tuesday. The number of those in hospital is 1,346 and the number of those in isolation at home is 1,065, Borrelli said.
Some 2,263 people have been infected with the coronavirus in Italy, 428 up on Monday, and 79 people have now died with it, 27 up, emergency commissioner and civil protection chief Angelo Borrelli said Tuesday.Some 160 people have recovered, 11 more than Monday, he said.
Italy's caseload rose to 2,036, including 52 deaths. Officials said it could take up to two weeks before they know whether measures including quarantining 11 towns in northern Italy are slowing the spread of the virus.
Italy saw the biggest surge in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases since the outbreak began with the total reaching almost 1,700 on Sunday. The death toll reached 34. Here's the latest news.The number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in Italy has nearly doubled in the last 48 hours, the head of the country's civil protection body said on Sunday evening.As of Friday evening, the figure was 888.Since the start of the epidemic, 1,694 people have tested postive for COVID-19 including those who have died and those who have recovered, Angelo Borrelli told a press briefing.Five more people died on Sunday, bringing Italy's death toll to 34 all in the northern regions of Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna and Veneto.Of 779 people who were still in hospital on Sunday, 140 were in intensive care, Borrelli said.up 1,100 on Saturday.The number of cases has reached 1,689 since the start of the epidemic on Friday February 21st.That number includes around 60 people who had been infected but are now fully recovered.On Saturday Angelo Borrelli, head of Italy's civil protection department said only around half of the number of confirmed infections were clinical.The non-clinical cases have few or no symptoms, and are not in hospital but in isolation at home.Official figures said 105 people were receiving intensive care hospital treatment as of Saturday.80 of the most serious cases are in the northern Lombardy region, which is at the centre of the outbreak.
Italian tourism officials fear a new virus could do more damage to the industry than the Sept. 11 terror attacks as the number of confirmed cases in the country shot up past the 1,000 mark and deaths climbed to 29.Authorities reported that Italy's total confirmed cases grew to 1,128, a 27% increase from 24 hours earlier. The vast majority are in three northern regions, all economically productive and among the most visited in the country : Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia Romagna.
Eight more people infected with the coronavirus died since Friday night, all of them elderly and all in the same three regions, according to civil protection authorities.The increase comes despite strong measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus -- including isolating 11 towns with a combined population of over 50,000. Health officials cautioned that the impact of the measures adopted a week ago would not result in slowing case numbers until some 14 days -- the period of incubation -- had elapsed.''The cases we are verifying are likely to have been contracted before we adopted these measures,'' said Silvio Brusaferro, president of the national health institute.
Still, the steadily rising numbers were likely to bring more pressure on Italy's tourism industry, a chief economic motor in a country famed for its world-class museums, archaeological sites, art cities and natural beauty.A U.S. government advisory urging Americans to reconsider travel to Italy due to the spread of a new virus is the "final blow" to the nation's tourism industry, the head of Italy's hotel federation said Saturday.The U.S. State Department issued a level three travel advisory -- the second-highest level of warning -- for the whole of Italy late Friday, saying that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had recommended "avoiding nonessential travel."More than 5.6 million Americans visit Italy every year, the second-largest national group behind Germans, according to the most recent statistics. They represent 9% of foreign tourists in Italy, and are among the biggest spenders at an average of 140 euros a day for a collective total of 5 billion euros a year, the hotel federation Federalberghi said.
"We had already registered a slowdown of Americans coming to Italy in recent days," Federalberghi President Bernabo Bocca said in a statement. "Now, the final blow has arrived."The Assoturismo Italian tourism federation was already warning that the sector that generates 13% of Italian GDP risked collapse from the virus outbreak's impact on travel.March bookings were down 90% in Rome and 80% in Sicily, Assoturismo said, referring to parts of Italy largely untouched by the virus so far. The industry group estimated that canceled reservations for March would cause 200 million euros in economic damage - and that was before the U.S. upgraded its advice on traveling to Italy.
''This is the darkest moment. Not even September 11 hit so heavily,'' the federation's president, Vittorio Messina, said, referring to the 2001 terror attacks in the United States.The Italian government late Friday took action to help the tourism industry, such as delaying deadlines for tax payments and a moratorium on industry mortgages.
The hotel federation's Bocca called the measures insufficient and asked all levels of government to adopt urgent measures to guarantee cash flow to tourism operators to protect jobs and avoid ''the collapse of an industry'' that operates 300,000 businesses and employs 1.5 million people.Lombardy, which includes Italy's financial capital Milan, accounts for just over half of the cases while Veneto and Emilia-Romagna have 18% and 20% respectively. Eleven towns, all but one in Lombardy, have been locked down, blocking the movements of more than 50,000 people living and working an hour's drive from Milan.
All three regions have closed schools for the time-being. In Veneto and Lombardy closures also have hit museums, theaters, cinemas and most public offices, emptying urban centers like Milan, where many companies permitted office workers to telecommute.
Some neighborhood restaurants and shops remained shuttered, and even those that opened had just a handful of tables. The regional train company, Trenord, said its weekday ridership had been 40% of normal.One Milan restaurant, la Rava e la Fava, put an ad in the local section of the daily Corriere della Sera newspaper to entice clients back. Under the words ''Kill Virus'' and a photo reminiscent of Uma Thurman's character in ''Kill Bill,'' the tongue-in-cheek ad called for ''rationality,'' and underlined the restaurant's exemplary hygiene.
''In nearly 15 years of business, we have never sneezed on anyone, nor will we ever, because that is how our grandmother taught us,'' the ad read. It signed off: ''A safe place.''
Seventeen people have died of the coronavirus in Italy, emergency commissioner Angelo Borrelli said Thursday. Some 650 people have been infected, said the civil protection chief. Some 45 have recovered. In Lombardy, the most affected region, there have been 403 infected, of whom 40 discharged after recovering and 14 dead; 11 in Veneto (two dead); 97 in Emilia Romagna (one dead); 19 in Liguria, four in Sicily (two recovered), three each in Lazio (all three recovered), Campania and Marche; two in Tuscany and Piedmont; and one each in Alto Adige, Abruzzo and Puglia. Those hospitalised with symptoms are 248, 56 of them in intensive care, and 284 are in domestic isolation. The number of swabs taken are 12,104, half in Veneto.
Italy's government, desperate to stave off a likely recession, played down on Thursday the gravity of an outbreak of coronavirus, the worst yet seen in Europe, saying it only impacted a tiny fraction of the country.But even as ministers took to the airwaves with reassuring messages, officials said the death toll had risen by five from Wednesday to 17, while the number of people who tested positive for the illness increased by more than 200, to 650."The epidemic of misleading information will do more damage to Italy than the risk of the virus epidemic itself," Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio told a news conference. "Only 0.1% of the country is involved."The coronavirus continues to spread across Europe but Italy is the epicenter. In other European states for example, Germany has some 27 cases, France around 18 cases, and Spain 15.Analysts have warned that the outbreak looks set to shunt Italy's fragile economy into its fourth recession in 12 years, with many businesses in the wealthy north close to a standstill and hotels reporting a wave of cancellations.
Bologna-based think-tank Prometeia forecast on Thursday that gross domestic product would fall for a second quarter running in the first quarter and decline by 0.3% in 2020 as a whole.Even though the outbreak is focused on a small cluster of towns in Lombardy and neighboring Veneto, the local authorities have banned public events across the regions and closed schools, universities, cinemas, theaters and museums.Italian authorities now seem concerned that their draconian measures to halt the spread of the virus, including widespread testing of people who had no symptoms, will take a heavy toll on the fragile economy.World Health Organisation official Walter Ricciardi said on Thursday Italy's large-scale testing in affected areas was not in line with WHO guidelines followed in other countries.
A growing list of countries around the world have reported cases of coronavirus in the last two days because of contacts with Italy. Israel said on Thursday it was barring entry to non-Israelis who had visited Italy in the past two weeks.Italian health officials stressed that despite the rising number of cases, the number that had been hospitalized and fully recovered had risen to 45.In a setback to efforts to present a healthy face to the world, the governor of the region of Lombardy, Attilio Fontana, took to Facebook to announce he had placed himself in quarantine after one of his staff came down with the disease."For now I don't have any type of infection so I can continue to work ... but for two weeks I will try to live in a sort of self-isolation," he said, donning a surgical mask.The previous day medical experts in Italy had stressed that such masks served no useful function for those not infected.In another case in Milan, professional services firm Ernst and Young said a staff member had tested positive and they had instructed their employees in northern Italy to work from home.
A significant spread of the outbreak to Italy's financial capital, with a population of 1.4 million people, has been one of the authorities' main fears.The right-wing opposition League party has accused Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of mishandling the crisis and called on Thursday for the creation of a government of national unity."The important thing is not to sink. With Conte, Italy is sinking. We are willing to row in a lifeboat for the time strictly necessary to return to democratic normality," League leader Matteo Salvini told reporters."This government team is not fit to handle normality, let alone an emergency."The government dismissed the attack and vowed to forge ahead to overcome one of the most serious crises Italy has had to deal with for years.Asked on Thursday if it wasn't time for a unity government, Conte said: "We already have one. The government is united for the nation."
Still reeling from the effects of major flooding just a few months ago, Venice faces a new emergency: the threat of a new virus outbreak across Italy that is worrying international visitors worldwide and hitting the economy hard.The fragile lagoon city, renowned for its unique cultural and artistic heritage, is already grappling with the effects of the worst flooding in a half-century at the end of last year. It caused more than 1 billion euros in damage to residents and businesses, hurting iconic landmarks like St. Mark's Basilica and La Fenice theatre.The Italian government is taking extraordinary measures to contain the two main virus outbreaks that hit the northern regions of Veneto and Lombardy, two areas that together produce more than 30% of Italy's economic output.As of now, Venice - whose historic center has around 53,000 residents and more than 30 million tourists a year - has registered at least four cases of COVID-19, with 71 in the whole of Veneto - the worst-hit region after Lombardy, where 10 towns are on lockdown.Neighboring Lombardy still has the most cases with at least 258, according to the latest official data. Twelve people have died so far in Italy, all of them elderly.
The Venice local hoteliers' association noted Wednesday that in the immediate aftermath of the virus outbreaks, hotel reservations saw a drop of about 50%. The numbers were rebounding for Carnival, with 95% occupancy reported just last weekend, only to have them drop by 40% when officials took the precaution - unprecedented in modern times - of canceling the last two days of celebrations."We understand the fear that is spreading but at the same time we are aware that our health care system is holding and we believe that the image of efficiency of our area will win out," said Daniele Minotto, the hotel association's deputy director.Venice city councilor for economic development Simone Venturini said that the economic impact of the new virus outbreak should worry national authorities as much as the impact on public health.In the city of Carnival, the virus threat forced visitors to observe strict precautions. Regional authorities also closed museums in the city - along with schools and other official offices - until March 1.Many tourists visiting Venice's central St. Mark square enjoyed much free space on would what normally be a crowded plaza, while restaurants, hotels and souvenir stores counted their losses. Below their Venetian masks, they also wore white sanitary masks.
"We can see the square is relatively empty. If I can say, from my 39-year work experience, there is a very heavy fall, around 40% compared to previous years," said Roberto Nardin, a Venice gondolier.The Italian government has staunchly defended its handling of the crisis, even as it acknowledges alarm over the growing number of cases - more than any other country outside Asia.Following the outbreak escalation, Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte has raised the specter of an economic recession, as Italy's ailing economy struggles with moribund growth, massive debt, and high youth unemployment. Economic experts and business associations predict the virus spread to take a heavy toll on Italy's output, now seen falling between 0.5% and 1% this year, causing the loss of up to 60,000 jobs.While there are measures in place to contain the outbreak, authorities also warned against unjustified panic. However, finding the balance between appropriate measures without repelling tourists and breaking the festive atmosphere remains a challenge.This year's succession of damaging events has also left some Venetian store owners desperate. Flavio Gastaldi said he is considering closing the souvenir store he has run for 30 years. Although business has highs and lows, his rent does not."At this point we won't recover anything (from the losses he has endured this year)," he said. "We will return the keys to the landlords soon."But not all in Venice were ready to let virus worries dampen their party.Yi Hui Ang, a doctor from Singapore who lives in Australia, recently walked around the historic center wearing a typical 18th-century costume she made herself, as well as a sanitary mask.
"I did have a dinner booked and everything, but that was canceled," she said. "But I'm still going to wear the dress."Eva Mazens, a 7-year-old French tourist also disguised for Carnival, was even bolder.
"I couldn't care less about the virus. All that matters is the party," she said.
Six people have died and 222 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) nationwide in Italy, Angelo Borrelli, chief of Civil Protection Department and extraordinary commissioner for the coronavirus emergency, told a press conference at 6 p.m. local time on Monday. Of the infected people, 101 are hospitalised, 94 are quarantined at home and 27 are in intensive care, Borrelli said, Xinhua reports. The numbers are up from 213 cases nationwide announced by the Ministry of Health at 12 noon on Monday. The majority of the cases are in the Lombardy region -- whose capital is Milan -- where regional officials said an 84-year-old man died in hospital overnight and an 88-year-old man died on Monday, bringing the total death toll for the region to five, officials announced during a press conference held at 5 p.m. local time. A total of 172 cases of coronavirus infection have been reported in the region since the epidemic broke out there on Feb. 21, according to Giulio Gallera, head of the Lombardy Regional Council's Health Department. He added that 90 percent of the cases have been reported in the cities of Lodi, Cremona and Pavia, and that 70 percent of the infected are men. «The virus as we have seen is highly contagious but the people it affects the most are elderly and with health conditions that are already compromised,» Gallera said on Monday. In a daily media briefing on Monday, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that «the sudden increase of cases in Italy (is) deeply concerning» but this does not mean the epidemic has become a pandemic. Also on Monday, the Ministry of Health tweeted that Dr. Andrea Ammon, director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), has «decided to send a team of ECDC experts to Italy to support the Ministry of Health in their efforts to limit the local transmission of COVID-19.» Meanwhile, Italy's tourism association Federturismo Confindustria said in a statement on Monday that it had sent a letter to Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte asking for a state of emergency to be declared for the tourism sector, which it said «represents 10 percent of (national gross domestic product) GDP and employs over four million workers.» «The latest grave news about the spread of coronavirus in our country have brought the Italian tourism industry to its knees,» the statement noted. «Cautious estimates saw losses of five billion euros (5.4 billion U.S. dollars) but now we can no longer estimate the impact,» commented Federturismo Confindustria Vice President Marina Lalli. «The season is compromised» due to «thousands of cancelations» and «missed bookings for the entire second semester of 2020,» the statement added. The FTSE MIB -- the benchmark stock market index for the Borsa Italiana -- plunged by minus 5.43 percent at the close on Monday on coronavirus fears, with the travel and entertainment index posting the biggest loss at minus 12.03 percent, the Italian Stock Exchange reported on its website.
Europe confronted its first major outbreak of the coronavirus as an eruption of more than 150 cases in Italy prompted officials Sunday to lock down at least 10 towns, close schools in major cities and cancel sporting events and cultural touchstones, including the end of the Venice carnival.The worrisome spike - from fewer than five known cases in Italy before Thursday - shattered the sense of safety and distance that much of the Continent had felt in recent months even as the virus has infected more than 78,000 worldwide and killed more than 2,400, nearly all in China.The perception of a rising threat was amplified on television channels, newspaper headlines and social media feeds across Europe, where leaders could face their greatest challenge since the 2015 migration crisis.That surge of people into Europe radically altered the politics of the European Union and exposed its institutional weaknesses. This time, it is an invisible virus from abroad that has slipped past Europe's borders and presents its bickering coalitions with a new potential emergency.If the virus spreads, the fundamental principle of open borders within much of Europe - so central to the identity of the bloc - will undergo a stress test, as will the vaunted but strained European public health systems, especially in countries that have undergone austerity measures.
Already, a new nervousness has pervaded Europe.In Italy's Lombardy region, 10 towns were locked down after a cluster of cases suddenly emerged in Codogno, southeast of Milan.Residents were supposed to leave or enter the towns only with special permission, affecting at least 50,000 people and by Sunday night, police officers in surgical masks were waving down cars.Austrian officials stopped a train en route from Italy to Austria and Germany to test passengers for the virus. The Austrian interior minister, Karl Nehammer, said the tests came back negative so the train got the "all clear."In France, the new health minister, Olivier Veran, stressed the country's preparedness, saying it would significantly ramp up its testing."There is a problematic situation at the door, in Italy, that we are watching with great attention," he said Sunday, adding that a Europe-wide discussion between health ministers was in the works.On Sunday night, an aid ship bringing hundreds of migrants, who had been rescued off the coast of Libya, to a Sicilian port received instructions from the Italian government to remain in quarantine for 14 days as a precaution, according to the ship's Twitter account.Fears of foreigners spreading the virus across oceans has already prompted some governments around the world to impose new border or travel controls.The Trump administration has barred entry to the United States by most foreign nationals who have recently visited China, where the virus first appeared and spread. Much of the world has adopted similar controls, but the virus has continued to spread, most notably to South Korea, where more cases have been recorded than anywhere else outside China, and this past week to Iran, where eight deaths have been reported.Israel on Monday will block entry to all nonresidents who have visited Japan and South Korea in the 14 days before their arrival. On Sunday, President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, which has 763 confirmed infections and six deaths, put the country on the highest possible alert, empowering the government to ban visitors from China and take other sweeping measures to contain the outbreak.
"The coming few days will be a critical time for us," Moon said at an emergency meeting of government officials.Even China - with an authoritarian government that has locked down areas with tens of millions of people in an attempt to stamp out the epidemic - has struggled to contain the virus, which has no known cure.But the scores of new cases in Italy, mostly in the Lombardy region that includes densely populated Milan, present a new challenge for a country with a wobbly government often paralyzed by infighting.
That government has now become the reluctant laboratory to test whether the virus can be successfully contained in an open European society with a liberal approach to restrictions.Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of Italy said on Italian television Sunday that the country had taken precautions, including barring flights from China in January. These measures seemed to have paid off "even if now it looks like it didn't," he said.He suggested that the surge of Italian cases only reflected Italy's casting a wider net in terms of testing.
"We cannot exclude that after tests that are equally rigorous, the numbers can go up in other countries," Conte said.Beatrice Lorenzin, a former Italian health minister, said the sharp rise in cases in Italy resulted from systematic checks that discovered a "second generation of contagion.She said this was probably caused by infected people who traveled to Italy from China using indirect flights without declaring their original departure point or putting themselves in voluntary quarantine during the virus' incubation period.

"I hope similar things did not happen in other countries," she said.

The outbreak in Codogno, in Lombardy, was detected after a 38-year-old man was admitted to the city's hospital and diagnosed with the virus Thursday. But the man had developed symptoms perhaps five days before that, potentially allowing the virus to spread.

Health officials are trying to figure out how he contracted the virus; he had not been to China. Many cases in Lombardy, officials say, may be traceable to that one case.

At least five members of the hospital medical staff and several patients have been infected. Other persons who tested positive include the man's pregnant wife, some friends, and others who spent time with them. The towns surrounding the ones where the man works and lives have been included in the shutdown.

On Sunday night on a road outside Casalpusterlengo, one of the locked-down towns, police officers in surgical masks halted cars, asking what business they had in the town. The officers suggested that motorists take an alternate route and urged them against going any farther.

Most of the drivers didn't need much convincing.

Bahije Mounia, a 42-year-old caretaker from a nearby town who wore a surgical mask, turned right back around. She said the government should have let people in the area know how dangerous things were much earlier. With the spike of cases in the region, she said, "It's almost like we're in China."

What had seemed like a contained few cases spread throughout the country's wealthy north. So did the precautions.

People wore surgical masks in Aosta, which is on the Swiss border. Officials in the Piedmont region closed schools in Turin, and Venice cut its Carnival short. The patriarch of Venice, the Rev. Francesco Moraglia, suspended all religious ceremonies, including Ash Wednesday celebrations that mark the beginning of Lent.

At least two trade fairs in Milan, cornerstones of the city's economy, were postponed. But the women's fashion shows, except for those by Armani, continued on schedule Sunday to large crowds, with few wearing masks, The Associated Press reported. The Giorgio Armani fashion house made a last-minute decision to stream its shows from empty theaters.

Two elderly people who tested positive for the coronavirus were in intensive care at Venice's municipal hospital.

In the regional capital of Milan, officials closed museums, schools, its cathedral, and halted religious and cultural events. Many other venues, aside from those providing essential services, have been closed, including most bars and nightclubs.

Fears that the city could be quarantined triggered a run on supermarkets. By 5 p.m. Sunday, at least one supermarket had run out of fruit, vegetables, meat and nearly all canned food.

Some of the customers wore masks, and they all seemed in a hurry to fill up their carts with whatever was left on the shelves.

Vanessa Maiocchi, 45, said she worried about getting her children enough food. She was also concerned that her brother, who has a weak immune system, might be more vulnerable, especially if his company kept making him go to work.

"At least in these cases," she said, "the state should intervene."

So far, the virus has killed three people in Italy, including a 78-year-old man from Veneto who died Friday; an elderly woman who died in Crema on Sunday; and a 77-year-old woman who died in her home in Casalpusterlengo and posthumously tested positive for the virus.

The Italian state, which leads the third largest economy in the eurozone, has not inspired much confidence of late, as it has been consumed by internal machinations. But health experts said they were more worried because the Italian Health Ministry appeared to have moved aggressively to prevent an outbreak, to no avail.

Francesco Passerini, the mayor of Codogno, said in an interview Sunday evening that he still had not received concrete logistical instructions from Rome.

"Who is going to bring essential goods here?" he said. "Who is going to take care of provisions and medical transportation?"

Two military structures in Lombardy are being prepared to become isolation camps. A military base in Rome has been housing evacuees from Wuhan, China, where the virus began, and the Italian passengers of the Diamond Princess, the cruise ship that has been under quarantine in Yokohama, Japan.

Lockdown procedures like the ones in Lombardy will be applied to other towns if new clusters emerge, officials said. Quarantine measures will also be applied to anyone who has close contact with someone who has the virus.

Elia Delmiglio, the mayor of Casalpusterlengo, said people continued going in and out of his town for most of the day Sunday.

"We got the decree, but not a precise schedule for when it will be implemented," he said.

But by late Sunday night, police began arriving to seal the town off.

"People are worried," said Paolo Camia, a 55-year-old manager of a software company from Casalpusterlengo, who drove out of town in his blue surgical mask to take some pictures of the police checkpoints. "Basically, we can't leave."

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.
Italy raced on Sunday to contain the biggest outbreak of coronavirus in Europe, sealing off the worst affected towns and banning public events in much of the north as a third patient died of the illness.Authorities in the wealthy regions of Lombardy and Veneto, which are the focal point of the flare-up, ordered schools and universities to close for at least a week, shut museums and cinemas and called off the last two days of the Venice Carnival.The civil protection unit said the number of cases of the highly contagious virus totaled 152, all but three of them coming to light since Friday.
"I was surprised by this explosion of cases," Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told state broadcaster RAI, warning that the numbers would likely rise in the coming days. "We will do everything we can to contain the contagion," he said.The latest death was an elderly woman from the town of Crema, some 45 km (28 miles) east of Italy's financial capital Milan. Like at least one of the other people who have died, she had been suffering from serious underlying health issues, officials said.The number of certified cases of the illness in Lombardy rose to 110 from 54 a day earlier, while in Veneto some 21 people were diagnosed with the virus, including two people in Venice, which was packed with tourists for carnival season.Health officials reported isolated cases in the neighboring regions of Piedmont and Emilia Romagna.The regional governor of Veneto, Luca Zaia, said he had dealt with numerous natural disasters during his long career, including floods and earthquakes. "But this is the absolutely worst problem that Veneto has faced," he told reporters.Almost a dozen towns in Lombardy and Veneto with a combined population of some 50,000 have effectively been placed under quarantine, with locals urged to stay home and special permission needed to enter or leave the designated areas.In Milan, residents rushed to stock up on essentials, while some parents decided to take their children out of the city.
"Today is madness. It feels like we're in Baghdad. We can't restock shelves quick enough," said a shop assistant at the Esselunga Solari supermarket in Milan, declining to give her name because she was not authorized to speak to the media.Lombardy and Veneto together account for 30% of Italy's gross domestic output. Any prolonged disruption there is likely to have a serious impact on the whole economy, which is already close to recession.Tourism looks certain to take an immediate hit, with schools across the country calling off trips, including traditional week-long skiing holidays.Milan's famous La Scala opera house canceled performances and bars and discos in Lombardy were told to close by 6 p.m. (1700 GMT). Some major sporting events were postponed, including four Serie A soccer matches scheduled for Sunday.Health authorities are trying to work out how the outbreak in the north started.Initial suspicion in Lombardy fell on a businessman recently returned from China, the epicenter of the new virus, but he has tested negative. In Veneto, doctors tested a group of eight Chinese visitors who had been to the town that was home to the first fatality, but again, they tested negative."We are (now) even more worried because if we cannot find 'patient zero' then it means the virus is even more ubiquitous than we thought," Zaia said.Before Friday, Italy had reported just three cases of the virus - all of them people who had recently arrived from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the illness emerged late last year.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said it was concerned by the upsurge in new cases and a lack of clarity over its spread."I am sending a ... team to Italy to work together to learn about virus spread and (how to) contain it," the WHO's European Regional Director Hans Kluge said on Twitter.
The outbreak of China's pneumonia-like disease has gripped Europe, and Italy is the most affected country on the continent. Cases of the novel coronavirus surpassed 130 this weekend, with two deaths confirmed.The last two days of Venice's famed carnival will be cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak, local authorities confirmed on Sunday.The Venice Carnival began on 8 February and was supposed to conclude on Tuesday, 25 February. It attracts around three million tourists every year, but visitor numbers and hotel bookings suffered a sharp decline this year amid fears of an epidemic.All public events will also be suspended in Venice until 1 March, President of the Veneto region Luca Zaia told repoters on Sunday. Schools and museums will be shut down too.The decision came after two elderly people had been hospitalised in the city of canals with the virus. There have been over 130 confirmed cases across Italy, mostly in the north of the country, as well as two deaths tied to the disease - one in Lombardy and one in Veneto.Several cities and villages in these two regions were put on lockdown over the weekend. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said nobody would be allowed to enter or leave the quarantined areas without special permission and promised to use the police and even the armed forces, if necessary, to uphold the ban.Meanwhile, Italy's top football league, Serie A, has called off three matches scheduled for Sunday in Lombardy and Veneto, and the iconic opera house La Scala in Milan suspended all performances.The pneumonia-like virus, which has symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath, was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late December. It has since spread to 29 more countries and infected about 77,700 people worldwide, with the global death toll rising past 2,400. Most cases have been registered in mainland China, with spikes in South Korea and Italy in recent days.
An outbreak of pneumonia caused by a new strain of coronavirus was first registered in the Chinese city of Wuhan, in Hubei province, and has since claimed the lives of more than 2,300 people in mainland China.The number of patients with coronavirus in Italy has risen to 79, local authorities said on Saturday. Two deaths from the new virus, both elderly, have already been confirmed in the country, one in Lombardy and one in Veneto.""79 people are infected with coronavirus, located in 5 regions: 54 of them are in Lombardy, 17 in Veneto, 2 in Emilia Romagna, 2 in Lazio and 1 in Piedmont. At present, 33 people are hospitalised with symptoms, of which 18 are in intensive care, 11 are in home isolation. Two died, while one person was discharged from Spallanzani", Head of Civil Protection Angelo Borrelli commented.Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced after an emergency ministerial meeting that Italian regions most affected by the new coronavirus will now be able to restrict the movement of people in order to prevent the spread of the disease."In areas considered to be hotbeds, neither entry nor exit will be permitted unless there is a special exemption," Conte told reporters after the five-hour meeting, also saying that a relevant decree has been adopted, which outlines measures to control the emergency epidemiological situation in the country.Earlier, Italy confirmed 66 cases of the novel coronavirus, with 62 of them registered in the last two days, Agenzia Italia reported citing the authorities. Out of 66 cases, there were 47 in Lombardy, including two in Milan, 12 in Veneto, 3 in Emilia Romagna, 3 in Lazio and one in Piedmont.
The Italian government earlier announced that a quarantine would be arranged for those who had been in contact with the infected, the municipalities affected with coronavirus cases have been isolated, schools and offices remain closed and residents were asked to stay home.Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte posted earlier a message on his Facebook saying that the government is working tirelessly to address the current situation.On 31 January, the Council of Ministers declared a state of emergency in the country over the outbreak.