Italy Restricts Travel Nationwide to Contain Coronavirus

A masked beautician checks the temperature of a client using an ear thermometer before carrying out a treatment in a beauty salon following the outbreak of coronavirus in Rome, Italy March 9, 2020. (Remo Casilli/Reuters)

Italy announced on Monday that the entire country will be placed on lockdown, an unprecedented move amid coronavirus concerns as cases of the deadly epidemic continue to mount in the country.

The move to restrict the movement of Italy’s 60 million citizens comes after the northern Lombardy region of Italy was placed on lockdown a day earlier. The total lockdown, which is scheduled to end April 3, means travel is now restricted, public events are banned, schools and public spaces such as movie theaters will be closed, religious services will be canceled, even funerals and weddings.

“I’m about to take a measure that we can summarize with ‘I’m staying home,'”Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said as he announced the sweeping measures.

Travelers seeking to move within Italy or travel internationally must cite work or health reasons to be granted approval. Police and health care workers will enforce the ban at transportation sites such as highways and train stations.

At least 463 people have already died and more than 9,100 people have been infected in Italy, the highest number of confirmed cases outside of China, where the virus originated. Data from Johns Hopkins University reported that 724 people have also recovered from the virus in the country.

Meanwhile, the virus continues to spread globally and in the U.S., where 26 people have died and more than 700 people have tested positive for the virus.

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