Italy locks down towns to stop spread of coronavirus

Italy has quarantined several northern towns to contain the spread of novel Coronavirus Covid-19, and has warned that the decree will be enforced using police and armed forces.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, approved the decree to contain an “epidemiological emergency” after 76 people were confirmed to have the virus.

“79 people affected, of these 76 positive to the test, 2 dead, one resigned (healed). Of the 76 test positive: 54 are in Lombardy, 17 in Veneto, 2 in Emila Romagna, 1 in Piedmont, in addition to the 2 Chinese tourists still hospitalized at Spallanzani in Rome.”

Iran and South Korea have also taken extraordinary steps to contain the virus. Iran shut down schools and events and announced a total of 8 deaths and 15 new cases to bring total infections to 43.

Italy said it’ll be illegal for anyone to leave the quarantined areas and those who violate the law will be punished.

“Competent authorities are required to accept any containment measure offered and proportionate to the evolution of the epidemiological situation. Measures include, inter alia: the ban on removal and access to the Municipality or the whole area concerned; suspension of demonstrations, events and all forms of meetings in public or private places; suspension of childhood and school education services and educational trips; suspension of the opening of museums to the public; suspension of bankruptcy proceedings and public office activities, without prejudice to the provision of essential and public utility services.”

“For sanctioning purposes, the mandatory decree that failure to comply with containment measures is punished pursuant to article 650 of the Criminal Code.”

“Finally, the text provides that the Prefect, by informing the Minister of the Interior in advance, ensures the execution of the measures using the police forces and, where necessary, the armed forces.”

This is the first European nation to be severely affected by the virus which came to light after a number of infections cropped up in Wuhan in Hubei province in China in December. Hundreds have died and thousands infected in Hubei.

In South Korea more than 550 people have been infected with four deaths.

Iran’s outbreak is worrying because there’s no clear travel contact with China, the WHO said.

Iran has shut down schools and theatres in 14 provinces after confirming 43 infections and eight deaths.

The National Health Commission of the PRC said on Sunday: “As of 24:00 on Feb 22, the National Health Commission had received 76,936 reports of confirmed cases and 2,442 deaths in 31 provincial-level regions on the Chinese mainland and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, and in all 22,888 patients had been cured and discharged from hospital (reduced by 1 by Anhui province after verification).

“There still remained 51,606 confirmed cases (including 10,968 in serious condition) and 4,148 suspected cases. So far, 628,517 people have been identified as having had close contact with infected patients. 106,089 are now under medical observation.”