Italy is the first country in Europe to establish quarantine of cities by isolating 11 municipalities to fight the epidemic of Covid-19. In northern Italy, around 52,000 people wake up on Sunday, February 23, in areas where "neither entry nor exit will be allowed unless special dispensation", as announced a few hours earlier the First Italian Minister Giuseppe Conte.
Closure of businesses and schools and universities, cancellation of cultural and sporting events, postponement of three football matches originally scheduled for Sunday (Inter-Sampdoria, Atalanta-Sassuolo and Hellas Verona-Cagliari): the government is trying to put a bell part of Lombardy and Veneto and curb the epidemic like fear. The home is in Codogno, near Milan.
Giuseppe Conte warned that he could possibly use the army to monitor the checkpoints. The legislative decree issued on Saturday provides for sanctions of up to three months' imprisonment for offenders.
In Italy, the most affected European country, there are a total of 79 patients to date, including three cases of contaminations known for weeks, contracted outside Italy. Two septuagenarians have succumbed to the disease in recent days.
France is preparing
France too is preparing for a possible "epidemic" of Covid-19, according to the new Minister of Health Olivier Véran, who says he is "attentive to the situation in Italy". In an interview with the newspaper Le Parisien, he considers "very likely" the possibility of new cases in France.
In South Korea, two more deaths have been linked to the epidemic, bringing the death toll to four, the Korean Center for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) announced on Sunday morning. There are 123 new patients, for a total of 556. A hundred cases are linked to a hospital in Cheongdo, a city where the Church of Shincheonji of Jesus is very represented. The epidemic has entered a "serious phase and the government is doing everything to prevent the spread," said Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun in a speech on Saturday evening.
In China, the toll reached Sunday 2,442 dead after the announcement of 97 additional deaths, all except one in the central province of Hubei, cradle of the new coronavirus. The vast majority of new deaths have been recorded in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei. The National Commission (Ministry) of Health has also reported 648 new confirmed cases of contamination throughout the country, bringing to nearly 77,000 total infections in mainland China (excluding Hong Kong and Macao).
Expansion outside of China worries WHO
It is the expansion outside of China that is raising concerns. The World Health Organization (WHO) thus fears "the potential of dissemination of Covid-19 in countries with more precarious health systems", warned its director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
This is the case of many African countries whose health infrastructures and medical personnel are ill-prepared to face the epidemic. For the moment, on the continent, only Egypt has recorded a confirmed case of contamination.
A study released Friday by the Center for Infectious Diseases at Imperial College London "estimates that about two-thirds of Covid-19 cases from China have gone undetected globally, with the potential result of multiple chains not being detected of human transmission outside China ".
And precautions are sometimes lacking: Japan acknowledged on Saturday that 23 passengers of the Diamond Princess had been able to leave this quarantined cruise ship in Yokohama without going through all the required medical checks.
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