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Lockdown in Italy's north after coronavirus spike

Video credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 8, 2020 - Duration: 01:26s

Lockdown in Italy's north after coronavirus spike

The Italian government introduced dramatic measures on Sunday, quarantining 16 million people in the country's north, after its biggest one-day spike in coronavirus cases.

David Doyle reports.

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Lockdown in Italy's north after coronavirus spike

An eerie stillness settled over Italy's wealthy north on Sunday (March 8) after the government effectively quarantined 16 million people in a bid to contain the rapidly growing coronavirus outbreak.

The country is Europe's hardest hit and on Saturday (March 7) reported that the number of cases had leapt by 1,200 in a 24-hour period - its biggest daily increase since the epidemic began in Italy two weeks ago.

In response, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte signed unprecedented restrictions into law overnight.

He announced that people should now not enter or leave Lombardy, Italy's richest region including the financial center Milan, as well as 14 provinces in four other regions including the cities of Venice, Modena and Parma among others.

All museums, gyms, cultural centers, ski resorts and swimming pools will be closed and leave for health workers was canceled as Italian hospitals sag under the pressure of the virus.

Restaurants and bars will be allowed to open from 6am to 6pm, but they must guarantee that customers are at least one meter apart.

Coronavirus has killed more than 200 people in Italy, and the northern regions of Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna and Veneto represent 92% of recorded deaths and 85% of all cases.

The measures will stay in force until April 3.

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