Quarter of Italians on lockdown as virus sweeps globe


The measures in place until April 3 bar people from entering or leaving vast areas of northern Italy without good reason, according to a decree signed by the prime minister and published online.



A quarter of the Italian population was locked down on Sunday as the government takes drastic steps to stop the spread of the deadly new coronavirus that is sweeping the globe, with Latin America recording its first fatality.


Italy has seen the most deaths from the COVID-19 disease of any country outside China, where the outbreak that has now killed more than 3,500 people and infected over 100,000 worldwide began in December.


The measures in place until April 3 bar people from entering or leaving vast areas of northern Italy without good reason, according to a decree signed by the prime minister and published online.


The quarantine zones are home to more than 15 million people and include the regions around Venice and financial capital Milan, while cinemas, theatres and museums will be closed nationwide.


It comes as Argentina on Saturday became the first Latin American country to report a fatality from the virus that has affected 95 nations and territories.


Anxious passengers aboard a virus-hit US cruise ship were confined to their cabins in waters off San Francisco, after 21 people tested positive for the disease.