In just three days, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Italy jumped from three to 132.
Rabat – Italy has put several towns in the northern Lombardy and Veneto regions under lockdown amid an outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
After two Italian citizens died from the virus and the number of confirmed cases in the country rose to more than 100, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte declared last night that it is now forbidden to enter or leave the outbreak areas without special permission.
Around 50,000 people living in a dozen towns are expected to stay at home as a result of the emergency decision.
“We are asking basically that everyone who has come from areas stricken by the epidemic to remain under a mandatory house stay,” Italy’s Health Minister Roberto Speranza said at a press conference yesterday.
Italian police, as well as the armed forces, if necessary, are tasked with enforcing the regulations.
Public events are banned in 10 municipalities, while the Venice Carnival has been suspended.
The affected regions are experiencing the closure of public buildings and limited transport.
In Milan, schools will close for a week starting tomorrow.
School trips inside and outside the country have been canceled, according to Italy’s Ministry of Education.
Additionally, Italy’s top football league canceled at least three matches scheduled in Lombardy and Veneto.
However, authorities fear that the virus has already spread outside of the Lombardy and Veneto ‘hotspots.’
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Italy jumped from three to 132 between Friday, February 21 and today, February 23. So far, 26 are in intensive care, four have died, and only one has recovered.
“The contagiousness of this virus is very strong and pretty virulent,” Lombardy’s health chief Giulio Gallera said.
Authorities have still not determined the first carrier of COVID-19 in Italy but are surveilling and quarantining those who may have been exposed to the virus.