Italy is preparing to put an entire region on lockdown to control the escalating coronavirus outbreak
Italy is planning to shut down the northern region of Lombardy and 11 neighboring provinces to try to combat the spread of the coronavirus. The quarantine, which is expected to be approved Saturday evening and last through April 3, comes as the European country reports 5,883 COVID-19 cases and 233 deaths. Schools, museums, theaters, and swimming pools will be shut down, and violating the restrictions will be considered criminal offenses. Italy is already staring down a recession and these stringent measures are likely to exacerbate the country's economic woes. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Italy, the epicenter of Europe's coronavirus crisis, is preparing to take the unprecedented step of locking down an entire region that is home to more than 10 million people in a bid to control the spread of the epidemic. A draft decree seen by The Wall Street Journal says that the Italian government is imposing sweeping restrictions in the northern region of Lombardy, where Milan is the capital, and 11 neighboring provinces, including Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont, and Veneto. People in these areas should "absolutely avoid any movement into and out of the areas," the decree says, according to The Journal. Bloomberg reported that movement within the affected area will only be permitted when it comes to "non-deferrable" business or health issues. The move comes amid the announcement of 5,883 cases and 233 deaths in Italy. Nicola Zingaretti, the leader of the country's Democratic party, testing positive for COVID-19. The quarantine is slated to be approved late Saturday, Italian officials said, according to the Evening Standard. Once the policy is greenlit, the decision will take effect on Sunday and last through April 3. During this lockdown, schools, museums, theaters, and swimming pools will be shut, the Standard said, adding that healthcare workers' leave will also be revoked. Bar and restaurants must ensure that patrons stay at least one meter apart or they too will be forced to close, Bloomberg reported. The Journal reported that police officers and even the army will be on-hand to ensure that people are following the quarantine. Violating the decree is a crime that can result in fines or prison sentences. Bloomberg also said that it had been given access to a second draft decree regarding containment rules for the rest of Italy, which restricted public gatherings and told people not to leave their hometowns unless it is necessary. That decree too is slated for approval on Saturday evening. With the largest number of coronavirus cases outside Asia, Italy has already taken steps including closing schools and universities from March 5 through March 15, canceling large public events, and shutting down its world-famous tourist haunts. Nearly a dozen towns in the country's north have also been sealed off, but the area is home to only about 50,000 people, making Saturday's decision a dramatic escalation, the Journal noted. The coronavirus outbreak is thrashing Italy's already-teetering economy, according to the Associated Press. The tourism and luxury industries have been severely hit, and the imminent quarantine will only make matters worse because Lombardy is the most populated part of the nation, the Journal said, as well as home to its industrial hub.
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Italy's coronavirus death toll shot up to 366 in a day as the country put 16 million people on lockdown
Italy's death toll amid the novel coronavirus outbreak shot up 133 in one day, marking 366...Italy's death toll amid the novel coronavirus outbreak shot up 133 in one day, marking 366 deaths in the country. The new figures make the country home to the largest number of infections outside China, and surpass South Korea, which had 7,313 identified cases as of March 8. The country issued a lockdown of the Lombardy region, affecting up to 16 million people and 14 of the country's provinces that are now subject to travel restrictions under new quarantine rules. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. The death toll in Italy, the center of the novel coronavirus outbreak in Europe, shot up within one day, from 233 to 366, officials announced. The 133 new deaths come alongside a spike in infections from 5,883 to 7,375. The newly identified cases mark the country's status as having the largest number of infections outside China, where the virus originated. The second-largest center for infections is now South Korea, which has identified 7,313 cases as of March 8. Italy issued an unprecedented response to the outbreak, announcing the lockdown of the country's Lombardy region, making up to 16 million people and 14 of the country's provinces subject to travel restrictions under new quarantine rules. Law enforcement was deployed alongside the new restrictions to enforce the quarantine. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte also announced the official closing of public spaces like schools, gyms, museums, nightclubs, and pools. "We are facing an emergency, a national emergency," Conte said Sunday. "We have to limit the spread of the virus and prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed." The shuttering of public places was similar to an announcement in neighboring France, where officials announced a ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 people after the number of deaths rose from 11 to 19 over the weekend amid 1,126 total cases. The virus has posed concern in countries around the world as more than 107,000 have been infected and at least 3,600 dead. Though the highest death tolls have previously been identified in China, where the virus originated in December, the country identified its lowest number of new infections in a single day since January, which indicates the outbreak in the country is slowing. Read more: Coronavirus live updates: More than 106,000 people have been infected and nearly 3,600 have died. The US has reported 17 deaths. Here's everything we know. The healthcare system in Italy's Lombardy region is so strained from the new coronavirus that officials are asking doctors to come out of retirement and nursing students are being fast-tracked to graduation The Louvre, Legoland, and three Disney theme parks are closed because of the coronavirus. Here's all of the major museum and theme park closures so far. The CDC is warning travelers about visiting 5 countries because of the coronavirus. Here's the US government's guidance.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: The reason some men go bald, according to a dermatologist