International desk – Italy has placed up to 16 million people under quarantine as the European country witnesses more fatalities from coronavirus.
More than 230 people have been dead and nearly 6,000 others contacted the virus in Italy, where the new coronavirus fatalities is second after China, the epicenter of the outbreak.
More than 50 deaths were reported in Italy in the in 24 hours of Saturday.
BBC reported that anyone living in Lombardy and 14 other central and northern provinces will need permission to enter or leave. Milan and Venice are both affected.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said schools, gyms, pools, and ski resorts will be closed and all events in “public and private spaces” suspended. The ban will remain effective until April 3.
“We want to guarantee the health of our citizens. We understand that these measures will impose sacrifices, sometimes small and sometimes very big,” Conte said early on Sunday.
“But this is a time where we must take responsibility for ourselves,”
Earlier this week the government announced the closure of all schools and universities across the country for 10 days. Italy has seen the largest number of coronavirus cases in Europe and reported a steep rise in infections on Saturday.
Under the new measures, people will be unable to enter or leave the whole northern region of Lombardy, home to 10 million people, except for emergency access. Milan is the main city in the region.
Mr Conte said the 14 provinces affected were Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, Rimini, Pesaro and Urbino, Alessandria, Asti, Novara, Verbano Cusio Ossola, Vercelli, Padua, Treviso and Venice.
Until now only around 50,000 people in northern Italy had been affected by quarantine measures.
Iran has confirmed almost 6,000 infections and 145 deaths.
A second MP was reportedly among those to have died in Iran, where health officials fear the number of cases is being understated.
The number of infections worldwide has passed 100,000, officials say, with nearly 3,500 deaths. Most of the fatalities have been in China, where the virus originated in December.
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has called the spread of the virus “deeply concerning” and urged all countries to make containment “their highest priority”.