Coronavirus cases mount to 322 in Italy

Rome: A total of 322 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Italy, of whom 10 have died, Chief of the Civil Protection Department and extraordinary commissioner for the coronavirus emergency Angelo Borrelli has said.

“Unfortunately, today (Tuesday) we recorded the deaths of three people in Lombardy,” said Borrelli in reference to the northern Italian region where the epidemic first broke out on February 21, Xinhua reported.

She added, “The newly deceased are two men aged 84 and 91 and a woman aged 83. The death toll in Italy is thus up from seven announced on Monday evening.”

The government has also placed a total of 11 towns — 10 in Lombardy and one in Veneto region whose capital is Venice — under lockdown in an effort to contain the outbreak.

“Of those tested positive, 240 are in Lombardy, 43 in Veneto, 26 in the Emilia Romagna region, three in Piedmont, three in the Lazio region whose capital is Rome, three in Sicily, two in Tuscany, one in the Liguria region whose capital is Genoa and one in the autonomous province of Bolzano, which is located near Austria,” Borrelli said.

Giulio Gallera, Lombardy Region Welfare Councilor, at a televised press conference said, “From now on, all test results and fatalities must be confirmed by the National Institute of Health (ISS). If the ISS confirms they were due to coronavirus, we will release the numbers.”

Italy’s minister of health Roberto Speranza, who held a meeting on Tuesday with his counterparts from Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Slovenia and Switzerland, as well as European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides, said that it has been agreed to keep borders open and to share epidemiological information between countries.

“Shutting down the borders would be a disproportionate and mistaken measure. Viruses don’t recognise borders, so it is obvious that we must cooperate since no country can make it alone,” he said.

Coronavirus has infected more than 80,000 people in 37 countries, causing more than 2,600 deaths in the past few months.

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