Italy reports large coronavirus outbreak
By ECCT staff writers
Authorities in Italy have imposed strict quarantine restrictions in the two northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto, close to Milan and Venice, following a large coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. Eleven northern Italian towns with combined populations of around 50,000 people have been in lockdown since the night of 21 February, with police patrolling the streets and fines imposed on anyone caught entering or leaving outbreak areas. Residents in the affected areas have been told that they may not leave their homes for the next two weeks. Italy has by far the highest number of Covid-19 cases in Europe (152 to date) and so far three people have died.
In addition, the last two days of the Venice Carnival and several Serie A football fixtures were cancelled. Authorities in Italy have also closed schools and universities as they work to find the source of the outbreak. Large Italian companies, including the bank UniCredit, have told employees in affected towns not to come to work.
The outbreak in Italy follows other large outbreaks beyond China over the past week. In Iran, the authorities have ordered the closure of schools, universities and other educational centres in 14 provinces as “a preventative measure”.
On 23 February, South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, placed the country on “red alert” after it reported its fifth death and more than 123 new coronavirus cases, taking the total number infected in the country to 556.
Here in Taiwan, schools throughout the country are to be disinfected before the start of the new semester on 25 February, as part of the government’s efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.