AGENCIES, Italy: As Italy battles Europe’s worst outbreak, and with the virus spreading fast, the European country of 60mn people that shares its land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, and microstates of Vatican City and San Marino has been placed under quarantine by the government.
In the most sweeping steps any European country has taken against the coronavirus epidemic in recent times, the Italian government has taken these steps in its efforts to tackle coronavirus outbreak that has affected more than 9,000 people and left 463 dead in the country in a period of just over two weeks.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced on Monday night that he was extending restrictions on travel that had been in place in the northern region, now throughout the country.
“I imagine how difficult it is to change all our habits, I am experiencing it myself. Unfortunately there is no time, the numbers tell us that we are having an excessive growth of infections and deaths,” Conte said in a press conference.
Italy has reported 97 more deaths from the novel virus at a time when the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned about the threat of a global coronavirus pandemic which it considers as “very real” and should not be underestimated.
Northern Italy has been the worst hit — in Bergamo, in Lombardy, there have been according to local media reports – 1,245 positive cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.
More than 15 million people under new measures will be affected in and around Milan, Venice, Padua, Parma, Rimini and other parts of northern Italy for nearly a month.