Mar 11, 2020 - Health

Italy tightens coronavirus shutdown, closes all businesses except pharmacies and grocers

The Italian prime minister.

Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. Photo: Ivan Romano/Getty Images

Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Wednesday that the country's retailers and businesses, other than pharmacies and grocers that sell "essential items," will close as the country responds to the novel coronavirus, AP reports.

Why it matters: It's the most extreme measure any nation other than China has taken to stem the rapidly spreading virus. With more than 12,000 cases and 827 deaths, Italy has had the worst outbreak outside of China. On Monday, Conte announced that the government extended internal travel restrictions to the entire country through April 3.

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