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  • The new coronavirus has killed more than 2,000 people in China and infected more than 75,000 worldwide.

    The new coronavirus has killed more than 2,000 people in China and infected more than 75,000 worldwide. | Photo: Reuters

Published 23 February 2020
Opinion

Italy has now the highest number of coronavirus cases in Europe, with 152 infected.

In a bid to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) in the country, Italian officials imposed this weekend strict quarantine measures in the northern Veneto and Lombardy regions and announced the Venice Carnival would end Sunday.

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The Carnival had been due to close Tuesday but regional president Luca Zaia explained to a local news channel that it would be suspended, along with other events, in a bid to control the outbreak.

“The ordinance is immediately operative and will go into effect at midnight,″ Zaia said.

Italy has now the highest number of coronavirus cases in Europe, with 152 infected. Three people have died, and officials say they are still trying to track down the source of the outbreak.

The head of Italy's Civil Protection Department Angelo Borrelli told reporters that 110 of the confirmed cases were in Lombardy, with 21 in Veneto and others in Emilia-Romagna and Lazio.

Outside the restricted zone, many businesses and schools have also suspended their activities, and important sporting events were canceled including several major league football matches.

Universities in Milan have been closed and the city's Mayor, Giuseppe Sala, said schools would also close their doors while the outbreak is not under control.

"As a precaution, I think that the schools have to be closed in Milan. I will propose to the president of the region to enlarge the precaution to the entire metropolitan city area. It is just a precaution, we don't want to create panic," he said.

The new coronavirus, first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late December, has killed more than 2,000 people and infected more than 75,000 worldwide.

It has spread to more than two dozen countries, but nearly 99 percent of the deaths and infections have been reported in mainland China.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, mainly because of fears that the virus could spread to countries with weaker health systems.

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