Rome is deserted as coronavirus drives tourists away while northern Italy is placed on lockdown after 36 died in one day
- The streets of Rome are deserted after Italy recorded 233 deaths from coronavirus and over 4,600 cases
- Today the goverment rolled out a series of harsh containment strategies to limit the spread of the disease
- A decree will close shopping centres during the weekend and gyms, swimming pools, museums and ski resorts all week round
Italian attractions usually brimming with tourists have been deserted in recent days amid fears of the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
Today, the Italian government rolled out a harsh coronavirus containment strategy after the number of deaths spiked by 36 in a single day.
The number of tourists pictured at some of the country’s most popular destinations has dwindled as the tally of deaths has risen.
The spike in deaths lifts the number of fatalities to 233 – the highest death rate outside of China, prompting the government to draft in retired doctors to battle the crisis.
Italy has seen the biggest coronavirus outbreak in Europe with 233 deaths and more than 5,883 cases.
The Colosseum in Rome is pictured before and after the deadly coronavirus outbreak, which has claimed the lives of 233 in Italy so far
The new set of national emergency measures is due to be released tonight, which will ban entry to, and exit from, the entire Lombardy region around Milan to limit the spread of the coronavirus as well as areas around and including Venice and the northern cities of Parma and Rimini.
A draft of the government resolution obtained by Italy’s Corriere Della Sera newspaper and other media said movement into and out of the regions would be severely restricted until April 3.
Milan is the Italian financial capital and has a population of just under 1.4 million people.
The entire Lombardy region is home to 10 million.
The government decree also covers parts of the Veneto region around Venice as well as Emilia-Romagna’s Parma and Rimini.
Those three cities have a combine population of around 540,000 people.
It was not immediately clear from either the decree or the media reports as to when the measure would go into effect.
The decree, a draft of which was published by La Repubblica this afternoon, will also close shopping centres during the weekend and gyms, swimming pools, museums and ski resorts, among others, all week round.
Civil and religious ceremonies, including funerals, are suspended and schools in the 11 provinces will be shuttered until at least the 3 April.
Few tourists walk along the Spanish Steps, in Rome, Thursday. Italy’s virus outbreak has been concentrated in the northern region of Lombardy, but fears over how the virus is spreading inside and outside the country has prompted the government to close all schools and Universities nationwide for two weeks
The Baroque Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy are all but abandoned after the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus, which has infected 5,883 in the country
The decision to bring in 20,000 additional staff to fight the escalating epidemic was one of several measures adopted by the government during an all-night cabinet meeting after the country reported 49 more deaths in one day.
Italy has recorded the most deaths of any country outside China and the third-most COVID-19 infections after China and South Korea.
Official figures showed the number of people receiving intensive care in hospitals jumped to 567 from 462 on Friday.
The Italian government has been watching closely to see if cases are spreading from the richer north to the poorer south, which has fewer medical resources.
It comes as the WHO told all countries to make containment ‘their highest priority’ as the global death toll reaches 3,000 with more than 100,000 confirmed cases.
The WHO called the spread of the coronavirus ‘deeply concerning’.
The new set of national emergency measures is due to be released tonight, which will ban entry to, and exit from, the entire Lombardy region around Milan to limit the spread of the coronavirus as well as areas around and including Venice and the northern cities of Parma and Rimini. Pictured: The empty Spanish steps in Rome
St Peter’s Square is pictured both before and after the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus, which has killed most people in Italy, outside of China
The Italian government said its medical recruitment drive should help double the staff of hospitals’ respiratory and infectious disease departments.
It should also increase the number of intensive care beds from 5,000 to 7,500 in the coming days.
The southeastern region of Puglia around the city of Bari recorded its second death on Saturday.
Italy’s civil protection service also revealed that the northern Lombardy region around Milan that has seen well over half of all infections had started ‘experiencing difficulties with the (number of) beds available in hospitals’.
‘We have beds available in other regions to help Lombardy,’ civil protection service chief Angelo Berrelli told reporters.
Similar methods are being adopted in China where veteran Dr Dong Jie – who helped combat the SARS outbreak in 2003 – has been drafted back in to help deal with coronavirus.
More than 60 people are believed to have caught coronavirus after attending a funeral in northern Spain.
A new case of coronavirus has been identified in Ireland, bringing the total number of people diagnosed to 19.
A map shows the spread of the red zones since 27 February
A man wearing a protective mask passes by the Coliseum in Rome today amid fears of the Covid-19 epidemic
Italy is recruiting retired doctors in a bid to battle the spread of deadly coronavirus as the World Health Organisation warned all countries to make containment their ‘highest priority’. Pictured: A woman wearing a mask poses for photos at the bottom of the Spanish Steps in Rome
Italy has seen the biggest coronavirus outbreak in Europe with 197 deaths and more than 4,600 cases. Pictured: A tourist wearing a face mask takes pictures inside the Duomo cathedral in Milan
The Department of Health confirmed on Saturday that a male, in the east of the country, had travelled from northern Italy.
The HSE said it is working rapidly to identify any contacts the patient may have had.
Today, another passenger on the Diamond Princess cruise ship has died, bringing ship’s death toll to seven.
The passenger, a non-Japanese male, died on Friday.
A general view during the Serie B match between Empoli FC and Trapani at Stadio Carlo Castellani today in Empoli, Italy
Tourists visit the Colosseum, in Rome, today. People in hard-hit Lombardy, and 11 other affected regions, are being asked not to enter or leave, and to avoid moving around the areas except for essential working needs and emergencies
An iconic balcony scene of Romeo and Juliet, virtually deserted as Italy battles a coronavirus outbreak, in Verona, Italy today
Health chiefs have confirmed they are looking at ‘one isolated event’ as the source of the outbreak that has potentially infected about 60 people from Álava and La Rioja, according to the results of tests carried out at the National Centre for Microbiology.
The death toll in France has now reached 11 with 716 cases confirmed.
One of the two fatalities was confirmed in the northern part of France, the other in Normandy, the health ministry said in a statement.
Egypt confirmed 33 new cases of coronavirus on a cruise ship on the River Nile that officials said the previous day had been struck by the virus. None of the cases were showing symptoms of the illness, Health Minister Hala Zayed told reporters.
The Vatican is also unrolling unprecedented health precautions designed to keep the tiny city state’s 450 mostly elderly residents safe. Pictured: A man wearing a mask in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican
There are now 102,000 coronavirus cases and more than 3,480 deaths across the world, according to a tally of government announcements.
Most cases and deaths have been in China but numbers are mounting outside its borders. Italy has reported the second highest number of fatalities at 197, followed by Iran at 124, then South Korea at 42.
Around 90 countries outside China have reported infections, with Colombia, Costa Rica, Cambodia, Malta and Paraguay reporting first cases in the past 24 hours
The virus has returned to Vietnam, which reported its first new coronavirus case in three weeks as a woman who had returned from a trip to Europe during which she visited London, Milan and Paris.
Nguyen Hong Nhung, 26, was admitted to a hospital in the Vietnamese capital on Thursday suffering from a fever.
Greece said today it had recorded 21 new cases, bringing the total in the country to 66.
Most of the cases were individuals in a travelling party that had gone on a pilgrimage to Israel and Egypt, the health ministry said in an announcement. The group returned to Greece on Feb. 27.
One of the travellers, a 66-year-old man, was in intensive care in the city of Patras in the western Peloponnese.
A row has erupted there between doctors and the influential Church of Greece over whether to restrict Holy Communion amid a rising number of coronavirus cases.
In Italy one of the big impacts has been loses of billions among the nation’s hotels, restaurants and popular tourist sites.
The federation of hospital doctors this week stressed that no exception ‘for religious, sacramental or metaphysical reasons’ should be made to state health warnings to please the Church.
Greece has so far confirmed 45 coronavirus cases, most of them among a group of pilgrims that travelled to Israel and Egypt last month.
But in the run-up to Orthodox Easter in April that traditionally sees a high turnout, the church is holding its ground.
‘It’s not possible to shut down churches, or to not give out Holy Communion,’ bishop Chrysostomos of Patras, one of the areas with the most virus cases, said this week.
‘Whoever believes that holy communion is life has nothing to fear, it’s a matter of faith.
‘Across the centuries, there is no case of sickness spreading through Holy Communion,’ he told Open TV.
In Romania, the Orthodox Church has allowed worshippers to bring their own spoon to communion and to kiss icons in their own homes.
The accelerating spread of coronavirus emptied Italian train stations and airports while turning parts of Rome into a ghost town.
Many of the city’s outdoor restaurants and cafes were either closed on Friday night or had free tables.
The expansive street that runs from Rome’s Colosseum along the Forum was deserted and the magnificent ruins weren’t swarmed by tourists.
The sharp drop in visitor numbers is wreaking havoc with the Italian tourism industry and contributing to fears that the anaemic economy is about to tip back into recession.
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