AGENCIES, Tokyo/Milan: Italy has reported a 50% increase in coronavirus cases even as the US further restricted travel and the famed La Scala opera house closed.
Italy’s Civil Protection Authority reported the country now has 1,694 confirmed coronavirus cases, up from 1,128 confirmed cases on Saturday. Thirty-four people have died. Italy has the most coronavirus cases of any country outside of Asia.
Delta Air Lines is suspending its US flights to Milan, the carrier announced on Sunday. The last flight out will be depart New York on Monday. The last return flight will be on Tuesday.
In Milan, the La Scala opera house will be closed until March 8, according to a notice on its official website. “In relation to the diffusion of the coronavirus, the prime minister has decreed the suspension of all events and initiatives and of all meeting in public places, including cultural ones, until Sunday March 8,” says a notice on the opera house’s website.
In Lombardy, the northern Italian region at the centre of the country’s outbreak, 1 in 10 of confirmed coronavirus cases involve medical personnel, according to Paola Stringa, a press officer for the Lombardy regional government.
The welfare assessor in charge of regional health care in Lombardy, Giulio Gallera, told reporters on Saturday that the region is evaluating whether to dedicate an entire hospital to coronavirus patients. “We have given the instruction to hospital to swab all the patients that come in with respiratory diseases symptoms. It’s important to preserve the well-being of medical personnel, which today represents the 10% of the infected,” Gallera said.
Italy has put several cities and towns in the country’s north on lockdown, banning people from entering or leaving affected areas, suspending public events and closing attractions, such as museums, to the public, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. The measure effectively put an estimated 100,000 people under quarantine.
In Paris, The Louvre remained closed on Sunday, the museum said in a statement. The Louvre said its closing wasn’t ordered by the government, which has banned all public gatherings of 5,000 people or more in confined spaces. That included the Paris Half Marathon on Sunday. France has recorded 100 cases and two deaths.