Italy Declares State of Emergency Over Wuhan Coronavirus

Pedestrians wearing face masks cross a road during a Lunar New Year of the Rat public holiday in Hong Kong on January 27, 2020, as a preventative measure following a coronavirus outbreak which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan. (Photo by Anthony WALLACE / AFP) (Photo by ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP …

The Italian Council of Ministers has declared a state of emergency due to the risk to public health posed by the spread of the coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, China.

The council stated there was now a “declaration of the state of emergency as a consequence of the health risk associated with the onset of pathologies deriving from transmissible viral agents,” Il Giornale reports.

Among the measures enacted by the declaration are 5 million euros that will be allocated toward handling cases of the virus.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte stated earlier this week that the country had also cancelled all air travel between Italy and China.

“We are the first country in the European Union that adopts a precautionary measure of this kind,” he said.

Conte went on to add that despite the new measures, members of the public should not be alarmed, claiming “there is no reason to create panic and social alarm.”

The moves come after a cruise ship with 7,000 passengers on board was quarantined this week by Italian authorities after a 54-year-old woman and her partner showed possible signs of being infected with the coronavirus.

Italian authorities have also confirmed two cases of the virus among Chinese tourists who are currently being quarantined in one of Italy’s infectious disease hospitals.

Meanwhile, a bar in a tourist area of Rome has sparked controversy for putting up a sign banning all people from China from entering their premises.

The bar, which is just a short distance from the hotel where the Chinese couple diagnosed with the virus were staying, displayed signs in English, Mandarin, and Japanese saying: “Given the latest international security measures, all people coming from China are not allowed to have access in this place. We apologise for the inconvenience.”

Police were called and warned that the sign could be discriminatory but the owners of the establishment argued they were just trying to protect the health of their guests.

Elsewhere in Europe, members of the Chinese and Asian communities have slammed reactions to the coronavirus as racist.

In France, the hashtag “JeNeSuisPasUnVirus” — “I’m not a virus” — was used to highlight perceived racism.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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