In Italy, the authorities are making every effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus, which has been the most serious outbreak in Europe to date. As of Sunday, more than 150 people were reported to have contracted the virus, which makes Italy the largest non-Asian coronavirus cluster. So far, two people have been reported dead.
The first infections in Italy were not detected until Friday. Prior to this, the country had reported only three cases in people who had recently returned to China from the city of Wuhan, the source of the virus.
So far, the authorities have not been able to determine where the virus started to spread in the country. Authorities have been searching feverishly for the so-called patient zero, the first carrier of the virus to begin to spread.
The Lidl store in Casalpusterlengo was only allowed access to customers through regulations.
Photo: Claudio Furlan
According to Reuters, suspects have recently been raised against a Chinese businessman returning to the Lombardy region and eight Chinese tourists in Veneto. However, all virus tests have been negative.
Locating the source of the virus is important to locate those affected and thus prevent it from spreading.
"We are increasingly worried because if we are unable to find a patient with zero, it means that the virus is even more ubiquitous than we thought," said Luca Zaia, Governor of the Veneto Region.
Schools, universities, museums and cinemas in Lombarida and Veneto in northern Italy have been closed and the last two days of the Venice Carnival have been canceled. In Lombardy, some 50 000 people have been quarantined. Locals have been advised to stay in their homes and leave only with a special permit.
The Italian Seria A football matches have also been canceled. Fashion designer Giorgio Armani said Sunday his fashion show at Milan Fashion Week was closed to the public and the press.
According to Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Lombardy and Veneto may face up to weeks of isolation in order to prevent the disease from spreading. According to AFP, there were queues outside the Lidl supermarket near Codogno in Lombardy as early as Sunday morning as locals prepared for possible isolation.
The crowd was so large that customers were allowed in for a group of 40 people.
- This is inhumane. Of the four sandwiches, Fighting is disgusting, said one customer in an interview with AFP.
- I'm really scared, this situation is really difficult, described the second trade queued woman.
The authorities planned to erect roadblocks in the Lombaridia area.
Photo: Miguel Medina
Roadblocks had not yet been erected on Sunday, but police cars in Codogno and nearby Casalpusterlengo were seen patrolling the streets. To date, it was not known whether the authorities would allow people to travel from one city to another within an area that could be closed.
"We are planning to set up checkpoints in the affected area," one of the police told AFP.
So far, the curfew seemed to depend on people obeying themselves. However, according to the Italian authorities, offenders could be fined or sentenced to three months' imprisonment.
The army has also been reported to be ready to assist in the control of the area if needed. Thousands of beds have also been reserved for the sick, who can be transferred to army garrisons or hotels if needed.