Italy's Death Toll Rises by 133 to 366 in One DAY - and Number of Infected Hits 7,375: PM Puts 16 MILLION Citizens in the North on Lockdown and Threatens Them With a Fine or 3 Months JAIL if They Leave the Quarantine Zones
March 8, 2020
Italy has the highest number of cases outside China, the epicentre of the killer bug, overtaking South Korea.
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- Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte signed a decree that will continue until April 3 limiting movement in the North
- Affects about 16 million people in regions including : Lombardy, Modena, Parma, Piacenza and Reggio Emilia
- There are no roadblocks in place and trains, buses and airports are still running meaning people can get about
- Anyone who flouts the quarantine rules could face three months in prison or a fine of up to £178
- Bars and restaurants will remain open but must ensure that everyone is seated at least three feet apart
- Foreign Office said British tourists 'are free to return home or complete their holiday' under Italian guidelines
The coronavirus death toll in Italy has risen by 133 to 366 as the country imposed a lockdown affecting 16 million people in a desperate bid to combat the spread of the killer bug.
The number of confirmed cases in the country increased by 1,492 to 7,375, with the new figures representing by far the largest daily rise in fatalities since the outbreak came to light last month.
Italy, which is the hardest hit European nation, has the highest number of cases outside China, the epicentre of the deadly disease, overtaking South Korea.
The head of the Civil Protection Agency said today that, of those originally infected, 622 had fully recovered, compared to 589 the day before. Some 650 people were in intensive care against a previous 567.
The quarantine imposed today by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte stops about 16 million people from moving in and out of the entire Lombardy region as well as parts of Emilia Romagna, Marche, Piemonte and Veneto.
Areas under lockdown include Milan, Italy's financial hub and the main city in Lombardy, and Venice, the main city in the neighbouring Veneto region.
The majority of the deaths were in the Lombardy region in northern Italy, the civil protection agency said.
Anyone who flouts the quarantine rules - in which no-one can leave the 'orange zone' without a serious reason - could face three months in prison or a fine of up to 206 euros (around £178).
While information about the penalty for breaking the rules was released, confusion still reigned as residents and tourists tried to figure out exactly when and how the new rules were coming into effect.
Weddings, funerals, museums, cinemas, shopping centres and restaurants have all been hit by new restrictions.
The Pope, who has been ill in recent weeks, held his Sunday blessing by video instead of in person and described feeling like he was 'in a cage'.
UPDATE #COVID19— GHoeberX (@ghoeberx) March 8, 2020
🇮🇹 #Italy report, March 8, 18:00 CET
Confirmed cases: 7375 (+1492 in last 24 hrs) ↗️
On intensive care: 650
Recovered: 622 (+33 in last 24 hrs)
Deaths: 366 (+133 in last 24 hrs) ↗️
Reports are getting worse every day. Today with 133 deaths and only 33 recovered pic.twitter.com/SwvHo5wrQr
Travellers rushed to train stations and crammed aboard standing-room-only trains, tucking their faces into scarves and sharing sanitizing gel.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed that British tourists in the northern parts of the country 'are free to return home or complete their holiday' under guidelines from the Italian government.
They said nationals will not be met by anyone at the airport in Britain, nor will they be put into quarantine or told to take a test for the bug which has so killed more than 3,600 worldwide and has infected more than 100,000.
The FCO updated its advice on Sunday night, advising against all but essential travel to a wider area of northern Italy due to the crisis.
The move has been made following consultations with Italian authorities and the chief medical officer, the department said.
News of the impending quarantine was leaked to Italian media early prompting further chaos as people rushed to get out of the affected areas.
Under the quarantine, bars and restaurants will remain open but must ensure that everyone is seated at least three feet apart or face being shut down.
Weddings and funerals are also forbidden under the new rules.
The areas quarantined are: Lombardy, Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, Rimini, Pesaro, Urbino, Alessandria, Asti, Novara, Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, Vercelli, Padua, Treviso and Venice.
A total of 11 towns in Italy were already considered part of a 'red zone', meaning they are the worst-hit areas.
Southern regions of the country warned hundreds of thousands of its people who emigrated to work in the north of the country not to return home.
The governor of Puglia made an impassioned plea on Facebook for them to remain in the north.
Michele Emiliano said: 'I speak to you as if you were my children, my brothers, my nephews and nieces: stop and go back.
'Get off at the first train station, do not catch planes ... turn your cars around, get off your buses. Do not bring the Lombard, Veneto and Emilia epidemic to Puglia.'
Inmates in four Italian prisons revolted over new rules introduced to contain the coronavirus outbreak, which include a ban on family visits, a prison officers union said.
Prisoners at jails in Naples Poggioreale in the south, Modena in the north, Frosinone in central Italy and at Alexandria in the northwest had all revolted said the union, Osapp.
At Modena, near Bologna, two prison officers were injured and around 20 staff members had to leave the prison after the inmates revolted. The prison was now being guarded by police officers, the Ansa news agency reported.
At Frosinone, south of Rome, police had to be called in to restore order after about a hundred prisoners barricaded themselves into a section of the prison.
— Vytenis Deimantas (@vjdeimantas) March 8, 2020
The protesting inmates drew up a list of demands, including the right to have visits from their loved ones, and tried to negotiate with the prison management, the Agi news agency reported.
And families of some of the inmates at Poggioreale, a suburb of Naples, gathered outside the prison to support them.
Italian football was plunged into a state of chaos and confusion when the kickoff to a Serie A match between Parma and SPAL faced a last-minute delay following a call from Italy's Minister for Sport to suspend the league during the outbreak.
The chaotic football season witnessed a player revolt over the idea of having to play matches during the coronavirus outbreak and the league demand for the games to go ahead.
The game at the Stadio Ennio Tardini was set to be the first closed-doors match since the Italian government ordered that all games are played in empty stadiums until April 3 in a bid to control the spread of the disease.
Games in Turin where Juventus and Inter Milan faced off and AC Milan's fixture against Genoa were also played without any supporters in the stands.
Alitalia also said it was suspending national and international flights to and from Milan's Malpensa airport from March 9 after the government ordered a lockdown of large areas of northern Italy.
In a statement, the Italian flag carrier said it would operate only national flights from the smaller Milan Linate airport, and reduce the number of flights between Venice and Rome.
International routes will be served from Rome's Fiumicino airport. The new regime will continue until at least April 3, the airline said.
Meanwhile, Pope Francis broke with centuries of tradition by enlisting the help of technology for his weekly Angelus prayer.
'I am close through prayer with the people who suffer from the current coronavirus epidemic,' the 83-year-old pontiff said in a message recorded at the Vatican library and aired live on a screen on Saint Peter's Square.
The Pope himself tested negative for the contagion after he fell ill on Ash Wednesday with symptoms of a cold including a cough, fever, chills and sore throat.
Around the world, more and more countries are bracing for a surge in virus cases as the global death toll surpassed 3,600 with more than 100,000 diagnoses.
Some nations are imitating China - where the virus first emerged late last year and which has suffered the vast majority of infections - by imposing travel controls and shutting down public events.
Many countries - including Australia, Vietnam and the USA - have banned entry to anyone who has travelled through or to China recently.
Other countries, including Jordan and Lebanon, have also banned entry to anyone who travelled to Italy.
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