March 10, 2020 - 12:33 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Italy will expand the lockdown of the Lombardy region to the entire country, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Monday, March 9 as Italy’s case count surged, making it the country with the most COVID-19 cases outside of China, CNBC reports.
People throughout the country of 60 million should not travel other than for work or emergencies, Conte said. He added that all public gatherings will be banned and sporting events suspended. The decision was made to protect the most vulnerable people in the country, he said, and the measures will take effect Tuesday and last until April 3.
“The right decision today is to stay at home,” Conte said. “Our future and the future of Italy is in our hands. These hands have to be more responsible today than ever before.”
The nationwide lockdown is an expansion of quarantine measures rolled out over the weekend that applied to an area of the country that encompassed about 16 million people.
Schools and universities all over the country will remain closed until April 3, he said, but public transit will remain operational. All schools in the country were previously closed until March 15. He also said all restaurants and bars across the country will have to close at 6 p.m.
Italian officials previously announced a lockdown of the Lombardy region, which is the part of the country hardest hit by COVID-19. The drastic expansion of the measures to encompass the entire country come after nationwide COVID-19 deaths jumped by 97 on Monday to 463.
Italy also reported a surge of 1,807 confirmed cases nationwide, bringing the total to at least 9,172 confirmed cases, which is the largest daily increase in Italy in terms of absolute numbers since the contagion first came to light on February 21.