Italy resorts to tough measures

By LIA ZHU/AI HEPING | China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-03-09 08:39
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People wearing masks kiss each other at Milan Central Railway Station in Milan, capital city of Lombardy region, Italy, March 8, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

Lockdown imposed by European nation to control outbreak spread to affect 16 million people

Even as novel coronavirus outbreak spread to more than one hundred countries, Italy has decided to take aggressive measures to contain the spread of the virus. Some states and cities in the United States too are taking bold steps to delay the spread.

Italy imposed a virtual lockdown across a swathe of its wealthy north on Sunday, including financial capital Milan, in an attempt to try to contain the outbreak.

The clampdown, which will affect some 16 million people and stay in force until April 3, was signed into law overnight by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, according to Reuters.

The new measures order people not to enter or leave Lombardy, Italy's richest region, as well as 14 provinces in four other regions, including the cities of Venice, Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia and Rimini.

"There will be no movement in or out of these areas, or within them, unless for proven, work-related reasons, emergencies or health reasons," Conte told a news conference.

Museums, gyms shut

All museums, gyms, cultural centers, ski resorts and swimming pools will be shut in the targeted zones, while restaurants and cafes can open but customers must sit at least a meter apart.

Leave was canceled for health workers as Italy's hospitals sag under the pressure of the virus, Reuters said.

The government enacted the draft just hours after officials had announced that the number of coronavirus cases had leapt by more than 1,200 in a 24-hour period, the biggest daily rise since the epidemic began in the country two weeks ago.

Deaths due to the virus rose by 36 to 233, while the number of patients in intensive care climbed to 567, up 23 percent from the day before. Of the 5,883 Italians originally infected, 589 have fully recovered.

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