Italy sees deaths from corona spike to 366

Italy has been hard hit by the virus.

By World Israel News Staff and AP

Italy saw a leap in the number of death from the coronavirus from 133 to 366 in a 24-hour period, making it the No. 2 country in terms of deaths – behind only China.

Most of the dead (257) are in the hard-hit north of the country. The number of sick from the virus in Italy is 7,374. Among those sick is Salvatore Farina, chief of staff of the Army.

Italy fears that the virus will spread to the south, where the infrastructure to handle a medical disaster is less robust than in the north.

To prevent the virus’s spread, Italy took a page from China’s playbook on Sunday, attempting to lock down 16 million people — more than a quarter of its population — for nearly a month to halt the relentless march of the new coronavirus across Europe.

Weddings and museums, movie theaters and shopping malls are all affected by the new restrictions, which focus on a swath of northern Italy but are disrupting daily life around the country.

Confusion reigned after the quarantine was announced, with residents and tourists from Venice to Milan trying to figure out how and when the new measures would take effect. Travelers crammed aboard standing-room-only trains, tucking their faces into scarves and sharing sanitizing gel.

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte signed a quarantine decree early Sunday for the country’s prosperous north. Areas under lockdown include Milan, Italy’s financial hub and the main city in Lombardy, and Venice, the main city in the neighboring Veneto region. The extraordinary measures will be in place until April 3.

Tourists in the region, including those from abroad, were free to head home, the Italian transport ministry said, noting that airports and train stations remained open.

The pope, who has been ill, held his Sunday blessing by video instead of in person, even though he was not directly affected by the lockdown. He described feeling like he was “in a cage.”