Italy Locks Down After Passing All But China in Coronavirus Cases

Italy
AP Photo/Luca Bruno

Data revealed on Sunday shows that Italy now has the highest number of Chinese coronavirus cases in the world outside of its origin country, a day after the Italian government placed an entire northern region on lockdown and deaths jumped 57 percent.

Italy’s coronavirus death toll has surged 57 percent in just 24 hours, according to the Italian government, which announced that as of Sunday, 366 people have died in Italy due to the coronavirus.

The total confirmed cases of Chinese coronavirus have risen from 5,883 on Saturday to 7,375 on Sunday, making Italy the most heavily infected country in the world after China.

In Lombardy alone, the death toll has risen from 154 to 257 in 24 hours.

The Italian government decided on Saturday to enact a strict plan to quarantine 16 million people in northern Italy. The newly quarantined “red zones” consist of Italy’s entire Lombardy region — which is at the epicenter of the nation’s coronavirus crisis — as well as provinces in neighboring regions, such as Modena, Parma, Padua, Rimini, and Venice.

“We are facing a national emergency,” said Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte during a press conference announcing the newly quarantined zones.

“Without underestimating it, we have chosen transparency,” he added. “We want to contain the spread of the contagion and we are taking action to avoid overloading the hospitals.”

In anticipation of the Italian government’s late-night quarantine announcement, and in the moments following it, overcrowding ensued at Milan’s Garibaldi and Centrale train stations as swarms of people sought to board the night trains in an attempt to flee Lombardy, according to a report by La Repubblica.

The report added that it had been “mostly” foreigners worried about being unable to return to their home country and students trying to escape the newly quarantined Italian zones, while railway police attempted to intervene.

Southern Italians temporarily living in Lombardy decided to bypass the train stations and flee from the red zones by car, according to La Repubblica.

The new orders from the Italian government restrict people from entering, exiting, or moving around inside the Lombardy region, its capital Milan, and other affected areas. Schools, museums, theaters, gyms, swimming pools, ski resorts, and churches are also closed.

The new rules regarding the quarantined zones are expected to be in effect until April 3.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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