Updated Mar 8, 2020 - Health

Italy quarantines 16M as northern region placed on coronavirus lockdown

Tourists on the Rialto Bridge in Venice, Italy, on Friday. Photo: Stefano Mazzola/Awakening/Getty Images

Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte signed a decree Saturday putting much of the country's north — including Venice and Milan — on lockdown Saturday to try to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Why it matters: Italy has the largest number of cases in Europe — 5,883 by early Sunday, per Johns Hopkins University data. At least 16 million people are now in mandatory quarantine in the Lombardy region, along with 14 provinces, the BBC notes. Among those to test positive is the head of Italy’s Democratic Party, Nicola Zingaretti, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: Key coronavirus updates

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Italy extends coronavirus lockdown to entire country

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.

Go deeperArrowMar 9, 2020 - Health

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

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.

Go deeper... Coronavirus updates: WHO classifies COVID-19 as pandemic

Timeline: How Italy's coronavirus crisis became the world's deadliest

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. Note: The data was not updated on March 12

Italy recorded 602 deaths on Monday from the coronavirus — a staggering total that could nonetheless be some cause for hope because it's the second day of decline from Saturday's high of 793.

The big picture: Monday marks two weeks since Italy entered a nationwide lockdown, with officials warning at the time that we wouldn't get a sense of how effective the measures had been until right about now.

TimelineArrowMar 24, 2020 - World