Panic buying in Italy as deaths and virus cases rise

A Milan shopper stares at empty store shelves as panic buying ensues amid Italy's spiking coronavirus cases.

Milan – Store shelves are running empty after a panic buying spree in the wake of a spike in deaths and confirmed coronavirus cases in Italy.

Numerous people posted pictures of empty store shelves and even empty plane seats on social media as other Europeans avoided visiting Venice and other major cities.

Italian authorities on Tuesday reported a jump in cases to 322 with ten deaths. Only one person is considered cured and released.

A majority of cases are in Lombardy and the area around Venice.

In the Lombardy region there was a jump of 28 cases to take the total to 240. Nine of the deaths are reported in this region.

In Veneto where Venice is located, authorities reported 43 cases, an increase of five over the previous day and one death.

In Emilia Romagna 26 cases were reported while Sicily, Piedmont, Tuscany and some other centres as smaller numbers of sick people.

The Italian outbreak has prompted swift action from the EU centres for disease control which has sent out experts to try and stem the spread to other nations. Control is difficult within the EU because of a lack of border posts. The EU has also released over 200 million Euros to assist containment and research.

In Iran, authorities are suspected of downplaying the number of cases and ironically the deputy minister of health, Iraj Harirchi was quarantined a day after he stood before the press to deny that 50 people had died in the holy city of Qom. Another MP is also infected.

Iran says there have been 15 deaths and 95 cases. But other governments are nervous about the reporting by Iranian authorities and believe the cases are far higher than Iran is reporting. Several neighbouring countries have closed borders and suspended air travel to the nation already hard-hit by sanctions.

China says it has 77,658 cases 2,663 deaths mostly in Wuhan in Hubei district which is ground zero for the coronavirus outbreak that has now spread to 33 nations.

The World Health Organization states in its latest bulletin that globally the number of infections have gone up to 80,239 with 908 new cases. Outside China there are 2459 cases, with around 1,000 in South Korea. 33 countries are now reporting infections with 34 deaths, 11 being new.