World • 10 March, 2020

Coronavirus: Italy extends emergency measures nationwide

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Italy has extended its emergency coronavirus measures, which include travel restrictions and a ban on public gatherings, to the entire country, BBC reports.

Photo credit: EPA

On Monday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte ordered people to stay home and seek permission for essential travel.

He said the measures were designed to protect the most vulnerable. "There is no more time," he said in a TV address.

Italy's coronavirus death toll jumped from 366 to 463 on Monday. It is the worst-hit country after China.

The number of confirmed infection also increased by 24% from Sunday, official figures showed.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in all 20 Italian regions.

Mr Conte said the best thing was for people to stay at home. "We're having an important growth in infection... and of deaths," he said in an evening address.

"The whole of Italy will become a protected zone," he added.

"We all must give something up for the good of Italy. We have to do it now.

"This is why I decided to adopt even more strong and severe measures to contain the advance... and protect the health of all citizens."

In an earlier interview with La Repubblica newspaper, Mr Conte said of the outbreak: "I have been thinking about the old speeches of [Winston] Churchill - it is our darkest hour, but we will make it".

Mr Conte described the measures as "I stay home" - with people forbidden to gather in public. "No more nightlife; we can't allow this anymore since they are occasions for contagion," he said.

All sporting events - including football matches - are suspended nationwide. Schools and universities will remain closed until 3 April.

The government said only those with a valid work or family reason that cannot be postponed will be allowed to travel.

Passengers departing on flights will have to justify themselves, as will all those who arrive by plane.

There are controls at train stations to check the temperatures of passengers. Cruise ships are also forbidden to dock at various ports.

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