ROME: On Monday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte introduced steps to combat the novel coronavirus throughout the world, urging people to “stay home” and banning all public gatherings and Series A football matches.
The unprecedented steps that covered the entire Mediterranean nation of more than 60 million people came into force after Italy announced 97 more deaths which took its toll to 463.
For over half of the 862 deaths reported outside China as of Monday night, an AFP count showed Italy.
“I am going to sign a decree that can be summarised as follows: I stay at home,” Conte announced in a dramatic evening television address.
“The whole of Italy will become a protected zone,” he said.
The steps expand a quarantine zone that Italy put on Sunday around the towns of Milan and Venice for its urban northern heartland.
The nation-wide ban will last until April 3, and will mean that all schools and universities must close immediately.
Traveling in and out of the country will be prohibited, as will travel between cities.
But how all those steps will be implemented was not immediately clear.
Despite the earlier set of restrictions for its Lombardy zone, trains and multiple flights continued to operate into and out of Milan Monday.