The threat of a coronavirus pandemic has reached an all-time high as all of Italy has been placed on lockdown starting Tuesday morning.
Some 60 million people in Italy are now on lockdown as all public gatherings have been canceled and schools have been closed until April 3, according to the Independent. There were 97 reported deaths from the coronavirus on Monday alone, bringing the total number of deaths to 463 and the number of cases to 9,172 in the nation.
Before Monday, Italy had 16 million people on lockdown, but the virus was able to spread beyond the control measures, forcing the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to make the decision to extend lockdown measures to the entire country. Everyone in Italy will need to demonstrate a need work, health conditions or other limited reasons to travel outside the areas where they live, Cante said.
“There won’t be just a red zone,” he told reporters, “there will be Italy” as a protected area. Although public transportation will remain available, Conte called on Italians to “stay at home.”
Italy is now the worst-hit country outside of China, where the coronavirus was first detected. More than 3,800 people have died worldwide from coronavirus and over 110,000 infections have been recorded, according to the World Health Organization. Of those numbers, 19 people have died and 423 people have reported cases of the virus in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“We have adopted a new decision based on an assumption: that there is no time,” Conte added. “The numbers tell us that we are having an significant growth in infections, in the people hospitalized in intensive and sub-intensive care, and, alas, also in deceased people. Our habits therefore must be changed. They must be changed now.”
Global panic over the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has resulted in food and sanitizer shortages at many stores across the world, and even an increase in ammunition sales in the United States.
The CDC recently imposed a travel warning on U.S. travelers, warning them to avoid long flights and “especially” going on cruises.
“Recent reports of COVID-19 on cruise ships highlight the risk of infection to cruise ship passengers and crew. Like many other viruses, COVID-19 appears to spread more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships,” according to the CDC.
The CDC has imposed a no-sail order to two cruise ships after learning that two crew members of the Caribbean Princess were aboard a previous ship on which at least one guest had tested positive for the virus. The Caribbean Princess said in a statement that neither crew member appears to have symptoms of the virus, but as a precaution, they are both staying in their rooms for the time being. It usually takes about two weeks for an individual to start seeing symptoms of the coronavirus.
A ship that had previously been issued a no-sail order, the Regal Princess cruise ship, was cleared on Sunday to port in Florida. It was issued the no-sail order for similar reasons to the Caribbean Princess. Two crew members had transferred from California from a ship were there were nearly two dozen cases of COVID-19, including 19 crew members. The two in question were tested negative for the virus. Passengers from all across the country on the Regal Princess have been cleared to return home.
In Iran, the second-worst hit country outside China, at least 237 people have died from the virus and 7,161 have been infected across the country since mid-February, although the real figures are believed to be far higher, the BBC reported.