Cases of the new coronavirus in Italy, the foremost affected country in Europe, rose on Saturday to just about 80, killing two people and prompting the govt to shut off the worst-hit areas within the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto. Authorities within the two regions, where the outbreak is concentrated, have canceled sports events, including three top league soccer games, and closed schools and universities.
Companies from Ray-Ban owner Luxottica to the country’s top bank UniCredit have told workers living within the affected areas to remain home. Lombardy and Veneto represent Italy’s industrial heart and jointly account for 30% of gross domestic output. With an emergency decree passed at a gathering within the headquarters of Italy’s civil protection agency, the govt adopted special powers to be ready to stop people from leaving or entering the worst impacted zones. Competent ministers also will be ready to halt sports events and faculty trips outside those areas.
“I’ve wondered myself why numerous cases in Italy ..and the answer is within the rigorous and meticulous controls our country has adopted from the beginning,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said at a late-night news conference.
Italy’s first victim was a 76-year-old woman who was found dead at her home 50 km (30 miles) south of Milan on Thursday and tested positive for the coronavirus.
A 78-year-old man died of the infection during a hospital near Padua on Friday night. The man’s wife and daughter are among 17 people infected by the coronavirus within the Veneto region, where authorities are considering suspending Carnival of Venice events currently happening. There are 54 cases in nearby Lombardy, including a person currently at San Raffaele hospital in Milan.
The city, where Women’s Fashion Week is underway, features a population of 1.4 million. dressmaker Giorgio Armani said his fashion show on Sunday would happen in an empty theatre with none press or buyers present to safeguard their health. Milan’s prosecutor’s office said it might not reopen on Monday and remain closed until further notice.
Organizers of the world’s biggest eyewear trade fair, MIDO, on Saturday postponed to the top of May the event which had been thanks to happening in Milan during a week.
The outbreak originated in Codogno, a little town southeast of Milan where Lombardy’s first infected patient, a 38-year-old man now in stable condition, was treated.
“All those that have tested positive are people that on February 18-19 had contacts with the ER and therefore the hospital of Codogno,” Regional Health Councillor Giulio Galera said, adding 259 people had been screened within the area within the past two days and 35 had tested positive. “A contagion rate of 13% is sort of strong,” he said.
Some 50,000 residents in Codogno and nine nearby towns are advised to stay indoors.
Public gatherings including Sunday church services and football matches are suspended, and schools and shops are closed. Similar measures were adopted within the small Veneto town of Vo’ Euganeo where the male victim lived, and in other places. Conte said further school shutdowns outside the outbreak epicenter would be up to local authorities.
Italy was the primary eurozone country to suspend all direct flights to and from China after two Chinese tourists from the badly hit city of Wuhan tested positive in Rome in late January. The Chinese tourists and an Italian national repatriated from Wuhan were the sole three cases in Italy until Friday.