ROME: Northern Italian authorities on Friday ordered the closing of schools, bars and other public spaces in 10 cities following a flurry of new cases of coronavirus.
Since apparently frequenting the same bar and group of friends with two other cases in Veneto, officials said at a press conference, five doctors and nine other people tested positive for the virus in Lombardy.
More than 50,000 people were asked to stay at home in the areas affected, while for up to a week all public gatherings such as carnival parties, church masses and sporting events were suspended.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that the government retained “a high level of security.”
Streets in the cities had been empty, with only a few people seen overseas, and signs indicating closed public spaces.
The first town to be shuttered was Codogno, with a population of 15,000, where three men, including a 38-year-old man and his wife, who is 8 months pregnant, tested positive for the virus.
There are three others who have tested positive for a first novel coronavirus test and are awaiting their final results.
Codogno mayor Francesco Passerini said the case news “has caused fear” across the city south of Milan.
The 38-year-old, who works in Lodi for Unilever, was in critical condition in intensive care.