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  • Death Toll Rises to 12 as Coronavirus Spreads in Italy

    | Photo: OMS

Published 26 February 2020

“We’re wondering whether to close properly until the situation gets back to normal. There are even fewer people today than yesterday,” said the operator of a restaurant in central Milan, which is normally packed with bankers and office workers at lunchtime.

The Italian city of Milan has been hit by the coronavirus outbreak, as business events including the annual Salone del Mobile design fair were delayed or canceled and the national death toll rose to 12.

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Cafes and restaurants in the city of 1.3 million people were half empty, far fewer people than usual were using public transport and hotels reported a wave of cancellations. Other northern towns and cities including Venice saw similar trends.

“We’re wondering whether to close properly until the situation gets back to normal. There are even fewer people today than yesterday,” said the operator of a restaurant in central Milan, which is normally packed with bankers and office workers at lunchtime. “We can’t take another week like this.”

One more death and 52 new cases of the virus were reported, all in northern Italy, while countries around Europe reported additional infections linked to the Italian flare-up.

The European Union’s health chief Stella Kyriakides, on a visit to Rome, cautioned against panic as Italy’s government prepared measures to try to bolster the economy, which looks certain to tip into recession as a result of the contagion.

Underscoring the concerns, the annual Salone del Mobile design and furniture fair, one of the highlights of the city’s business calendar, was postponed from April until June.

The head of the national Civil Protection agency, Angelo Borrelli, told reporters the death toll had risen to 12 from 11 the day before, with a 69-year old man dying in the northern region of Emilia Romagna.

As with all the other people who have died so far, the man had underlying health problems that made him particularly vulnerable to the disease.

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