Italy confirms first two cases of coronavirus, stops flights from China

01 Février, 2020, 08:54 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Italy to declare state of emergency after coronavirus cases confirmed

A Chinese couple who tested positive for the coronavirus in Italy went on a tour of the country visiting Milan, Verona, Parma and Rome before they were quarantined.

The state of emergency, a fairly common procedure after natural disasters like earthquakes or floods, gives regional authorities special powers and cuts red tape.

The tourists were hospitalised on 30 January after falling ill while staying at Hotel Palatino in the capital's central Monti district near the Colosseum.

The Italian government declared a state of emergency on Friday (Jan 31) to fast-track efforts to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus strain after two cases were confirmed in Rome.

The people travelling inside the Costa Smeralda ship had been kept on the ship since Thursday morning after a Chinese woman, 54, from Macau, who boarded the ship on January 25, came down with "mild flu-like symptoms" the previous night.

Chinese health officials announced the death toll in the country from the virus had risen to 213, up from 170 a day earlier, with the number of known cases rising from 7,711 to 9,692.

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Although the vast majority of confirmed infections are inside China, other countries continue to report new cases. [FOCUS]Coronavirus cure: When will there be a cure? . What does corona mean?

The news came as the United Nations health agency WHO declared an worldwide emergency over the coronavirus from China, which reported its biggest single-day jump in deaths. Most global cases are in people who had been to Wuhan in Hubei.

Japan has advised citizens to put off non-urgent travel to China, Iran's health minister urged a ban on all travellers from China.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said her country had taken "the most comprehensive and rigorous prevention and control measures".

"I'm confident that the situation will remain contained", Conte said.

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