Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has ordered the lockdown of the country’s northern region of Lombardy and 14 provinces in an attempt to halt the spread of a novel coronavirus.

The move, announced on Saturday, places some 16 million people in the new red zones until April 3. The drastic move comes after tests revealed a big increase in the number of coronavirus infections. In its daily update, Italy’s civil protection agency said on Saturday that the number of infected people rose by 1,247, bringing the total to 5,883. Among those infected is the head of the co-ruling Democratic Party, Nicola Zingaretti.

Extreme Measures

The government’s decision restricts all movements in the quarantined area. Police forces will patrol the roads in these provinces.Those who enter or exit the region without a significant and “not deferrable” work reason or a health emergency will be fined. Museums are closed and any sorts of civil ceremonies, including funerals, are suspended. Bars and pubs that can guarantee a distance of one metre (3.3 feet) between customers are open but will close their doors at 6pm. Gyms, swimming pools, theatres and betting shops will close and athletes will be forced to train indoors without any crowd.

Also read: US Senator Cruz self quarantines after contact with coronavirus carrier


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