Coronavirus infections in Italy have climbed to over 100 with 89 cases reported in Lombardy, the region’s Governor Attilio Fontana said on Sunday.
The Italian government issued an emergency decree on Saturday night imposing an extended lockdown in the towns where at least one person has been infected and a ban on school field trips and sports events, including Serie A football matches in Lombardy and Veneto. Over the weekend, two people died after testing positive for coronavirus in the two northern regions.
Fontana, a member of Matteo Salvini’s far-right League, said in a statement that the situation was “extremely difficult but residents must not panic.” He added that offices, businesses, schools and shops would be closed in 11 municipalities across the region and public events would be suspended.
Salvini has called for Italy to suspend the Schengen treaty and shut the country’s borders to combat the virus, but Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte pushed back against the demand in a press conference on Saturday night. “I don’t think the conditions for such a move exist at this point,” Conte said.
On Sunday, Romania’s health ministry said that all Romanian nationals returning from Lombardy and Veneto would be quarantined for 14 days.
Hans Kluge, director of the World Health Organization’s Europe office, told Italian daily La Repubblica on Saturday that “what is concerning about the Italian cases is that not every one seems to be clearly linked with trips to China or other confirmed cases.”
Carmen Paun contributed reporting.