Monday 9 March 2020 9:06 pm

Coronavirus: Whole of Italy put on lockdown as death toll soars

Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has placed the entire country on lockdown in an effort to contain the spread of coronavirus, as the death toll jumped by 97.

It extends the emergency measures the government put in place over the weekend for Lombardy and 14 other provinces in the north of the country, the epicentre of the outbreak.

Conte said he will sign the decree immediately with measures effective from tomorrow morning.

Public gatherings will be banned across the country, while schools and universities across the country will be closed until 3 April. Public transport will continue to work, Conte said, but people would have to explain why they are travelling.

The PM said that all sporting events, including Serie A matches, the country’s top football league, will be cancelled.

Italy is the worst affected country in Europe with more than 9,000 confirmed cases. The death toll jumped by 97 to 463 today.

The Foreign Office has now updated its travel advice to recommend against all but essential travel to Italy.

Countries are stepping up measures to combat the coronavirus outbreak as cases globally passed 111,000 and the death toll rose to 3,890.

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Israel announced today that it will require anyone arriving from overseas to self-isolate for 14 days as a precaution against coronavirus.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the order would be in effect for two weeks initially.

“This is a difficult decision. But it is essential for safeguarding public health, and public health comes first,” he added.

Israel has already taken tough measures in a bid to curb the spread of infection, forcing visitors from many countries in Asia and Europe into quarantine.

Israeli interior minister Aryeh Deri said the measure would be effective immediately for all Israelis returning to the country, and will apply to foreign citizens from Thursday.

Foreign arrivals will have to prove that they have adequate accommodation to self-isolate during their stay.

According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Israel’s foreign ministry has ordered diplomats to cancel plans for events for the country’s 72nd independence day in April. Events for Holocaust Remembrance Day, on 21 April, and the Memorial Day for Israel’s Fallen Soldiers a week later, will be held on a smaller scale.

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