Countries across the world are putting forward strict measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, and Italy has unprecedentedly extended travel restrictions to the entire country.
The nationwide travel restrictions by the Italian government took effect on Monday (local time) as the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases in Italy rose 1,797 from the previous day to 9,172 in total with 463 deaths. The new emergency measure came in one day after the country’s quarantine measure on 15 regions, including Lombardy in the North.
As a result of the new measures, about 60.48 million Italian nationals cannot travel away from their residences for any reason, except health issues, until April 3. Not only Italy but also other major European countries, such as France, Germany, and Spain, are also coming up with response measures, such as temporarily closing down public spaces and holding emergency security meetings, as the number of COVID-19 patients has reached over 1,000 in each country. Reuters reported that the European Union has decided to hold an emergency summit meeting through video conference among the leaders of its 27 member countries to develop joint measures against COVID-19.
COVID-19 has been spreading worldwide with 7,000 cases in Iran and over 700 cases in the U.S., while the global death toll has passed 4,000. “Now that the virus has a foothold in so many countries, the threat of a pandemic has become very real,” said World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus who had been rather cautious to call COVID-19 a pandemic.
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