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Italy quarantines 16 million over coronavirus

Published: March 7, 2020
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Source: aljazeera.com

Italy announced early on Sunday an unprecedented quarantine on its northern region of Lombardy and other badly affected areas, impacting some 16 million people as it steps up efforts to tackle Europe's largest outbreak of coronavirus.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte says nobody will be allowed in or out of Lombardy or the 10 other areas until April 3. 

"We are aware that this will create unease and that these measures will be a sacrifice, big and small," Conte told journalists in Rome. "But this is the time to be responsible." 

Amid some concern among governors in the affected places, Conte signed a decree enacting the quarantine in the middle of the night. It will affect a quarter of the Italian population.

In other recent developments:

The number of people diagnosed with the new coronavirus now exceeds 100,000 worldwide, with several new countries reporting their first cases.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called the spread of the virus "deeply concerning".

A hotel in southeastern China that was being used to house people quarantined over the virus has collapsed. About 20 people remain trapped.

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