Italy announces 3 deaths linked to coronavirus

International Desk
24 February 2020, Mon
Published: 07:43 Updated: 11:53

Italy announces 3 deaths linked to coronavirus

An elderly cancer patient became the third person known to be infected with the coronavirus to die in Italy, health officials said on Sunday, as the number of people contracting the virus continued to mount.

The death of the woman in a hospital in the small city of Crema in Lombardy, the center of Italy's coronavirus scare, followed that of a 77-year-old woman on Saturday and a 78-year-old man on Friday, the first victim of coronavirus in Europe.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte urged people "not to give in to panic and follow the advice of health authorities".

"We should not be afraid because of the rising numbers," he told public radio station Rai Uno, adding in another interview that cases were being discovered "because we are carrying out thousands of checks".

The head of Italy's civil protection department, Angelo Borrelli, told a news conference that 152 people had now tested positive for the virus in the country, including the three deceased.

Eleven towns -- 10 in Lombardy and 1 in neighbouring Veneto -- are under lockdown, with some 50,000 residents prohibited from leaving. Regional authorities have ordered gathering spots, such as bars, restaurants and discos to close.

Schools throughout the affected areas are to remain closed next week.

Italy has placed some 50,000 people in a dozen small northern towns in lockdown but the fallout has spread to nearby Milan, where concerns over the spread of coronavirus have disrupted events from Milan fashion Week to opera at La Scala and football.