Mar 9, 2020 - Health

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.

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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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.

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U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll passes 9,600

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Recorded deaths from the novel coronavirus surpassed 9,600 in the U.S. Sunday night, per Johns Hopkins data. The death toll in the U.S. has risen over 1,000 every day since April 1.

Why it matters: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Sunday this upcoming week will be "the hardest and saddest week of most Americans' lives" — calling it our "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."

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CDC launches hospitalization and coronavirus fatality trackers

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched two new national tracking tools for the novel coronavirus in the U.S. on Saturday — one to monitor fatalities and another for hospitalizations.

Why it matters: The coronavirus testing kit shortage has challenged public health experts' ability to understand the scope of the outbreak in the U.S., NPR reports. States have scrambled to produce their own systems and monitor the data.

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