Mar 9, 2020 - Health

Italy extends coronavirus lockdown to entire country

Italians with masks

Photo: Antonio Masiello/Getty Images

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced Monday that the government has extended internal travel restrictions to the entire country until April 3, after initially locking down the country's northern region in an effort to contain the coronavirus.

Why it matters: It's an extreme measure that effectively locks down 60 million people in one of the most populated countries in Europe, where more people have tested positive for the coronavirus than any country outside of China. Conte also announced that all public gatherings and sporting events would be banned.

The big picture: More than 9,000 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Italy, with more than 450 deaths recorded as of Sunday — up from 97 just one day prior. The rapidly spreading outbreak has put immense pressure on Italian officials to act.

  • Italy placed the entire Lombardy region, as well as 14 other northern provinces, under travel restrictions this weekend, leading to mass chaos as Italians scrambled to change travel plans before the decree went into effect.
  • Conte said that the new decree impacting the entire country would go into effect Tuesday morning and that it is designed to protect the most vulnerable citizens. He advised all Italians to stay home and avoid traveling unless it's an emergency.
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