Italian Prime Minister orders lockdown of Venice and Milan to stem spread of coronavirus

Italy’s prime minister on Sunday ordered the complete lockdown of some 16 million people in the country’s coronavirus-plagued north — including the cities of Venice and Milan — in a draconian health measure expected to be approved by legislators later in the day.

The quarantine ordered by Guiseppe Conte effects ten million living in the Lombardy region another 6 million living in 14 provinces; it bars anyone from entering or leaving except for “undeferrable work needs or emergency situations” until at least April 3.

Anyone breaking the quarantine will face three months in jail, The Guardian reported.

Cinemas, theaters, dance schools, bingo halls and pubs will also be closed — but restaurants will stay open if they can provide seating that keeps a distance of one meter, or a little over a yard, between customers.

The measure, set to take effect immediately, would paralyze Italy’s industrial north, dealing a great financial blow to Europe’s third-largest economy.

The measure was due for a vote as Italy logged at least 5,883 infected patients and 3,594 deaths. Only two countries have been hit harder by the coronavirus –Mainland China, which has 80,695 infected and 3,097 deaths, and South Korea, which has 7,134 infected and 50 deaths.

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