Coronavirus: Italy implements widespread quarantine affecting millions

Coronavirus: Italy implements widespread quarantine affecting millions

- Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has placed millions under quarantine

- This comes as the nation attempts to limit the spread of the coronavirus

- The move limits the movement of citizens severely across numerous provinces

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Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has signed off on a decree that is set to affect around 16 million citizens.

This sweeping coronavirus quarantine will restrict the movement of approximately a quarter of the region's population in an effort to limit the spread at the European epicentre.

The Lombardy region and 15 other neighbouring regions will be affected and the measures will remain in place until April 3, reports IOL.

The declaration makes it clear exceptions will be made only in special cases:

“For Lombardy and for the other northern provinces that I have listed there will be a ban for everybody to move in and out of these territories and also within the same territory. Exceptions will be allowed only for proven professional needs, exceptional cases and health issues.”

READ ALSO: Fact Check: No, face masks won't protect you against the coronavirus

This comes as many countries consider imitating China, where the virus originated, by implementing travel restrictions and cancelling public events.

Italy's civil protection agency revealed that the number of infections spiked by 1 247 over the last 24 hours, increasing the total number of infections in the country to 5 663.

36 fatalities have been reported in the country, increasing the total number of deaths to 2333.

News of the impending quarantine created chaos and confusion in Padua, Veneto as citizens rushed out of bustling bars and restaurants and headed home.

The local train station was packed with travellers donning face masks, gloves and carrying bottles of hand sanitizer.

Stefano Bonaccini, president of the Emilia Romagna region, had warned Conte that portions of the decree weren't clear.

Bomaccini urged Conte to wait until more 'coherent' solutions could be obtained but this had evidently done little to deter the prime minister.

There was chaos and confusion in the northern Italian city of Padua in the Veneto region as word spread late Saturday evening that the government was planning to announce the quarantine. reported that, despite global reports of face masks selling out, little protection is actually provided by these masks.

The design is meant to help an already sick person limit infections to healthy people, not the other way around.

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