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Italy puts 15 mn people from 16 provinces under lockdown to contain COVID-19, outbreak spreads to 103 countries 

Rome: More than 1,200 people tested positive for the Novel Coronavirus in the last 24 hours in Italy, and 36 deaths were reported. To stop the rampant spread of the outbreak, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte issued a decree on Sunday, imposing a lockdown in 16 Italian provinces. Italy has placed travel restrictions as also a lockdown on the 15 million people informing that it would remain in force till 3rd of April. Meanwhile, the new Coronavirus has spread to 103 countries of the world with Latin America reporting its first death.   

The Coronavirus outbreak, which originated in China in December last year, has culminated into a pandemic with more than 100,000 cases being reported from over 100 nations. The death toll worldwide due to the COVID-19 virus has reached 3,657, of which 3,098 are from China. The most significant spread of the virus outside China has been reported in South Korea, Italy and Iran. South Korea has recorded more than 7,300 cases while Iran recorded 6,500 cases of the Novel Coronavirus. 

The outbreak is found to have spread rapidly in Italy, one of Europe’s leading economies. Italy reported 1,247 cases of the Coronavirus in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of cases to six thousand. At the same time, 36 fatalities were reported on Saturday, with the death toll reaching 233. The developments over the last 24 hours in Italy, has created a sensation in Europe and the European Union (EU) has indicated of calling an emergency meeting.   

The Italian government is taking steps to counter the virus on a war footing and has issued a decree announcing a lockdown on 16 provinces in northern Italy. Accordingly, Prime Minister Conte’s order, imposed lockdowns on Sunday as also travel restrictions over 15 million citizens from 16 Italian provinces including Lombardi, Modena, Venice, Alexandria and Versilia. Till the 3rd of April, people from the provinces are not allowed to travel outside their city or region. Furthermore, people from other Italian provinces are also not permitted to go to the ones under lockdown.  

The cities in Italy is the second instance of a required lockdown on citizens in any country outside China. Although the United States, Europe as also other countries have imposed travel restrictions on people arriving in and leaving the country, they have not decided on a long-term lockdown. Meanwhile, the number of deaths due to new Coronavirus in the United States reached 19 and a state of emergency was declared on the city of New York. As per the local agencies, nearly 450 cases of the Coronavirus were reported from 30 states of the United States.  

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