New coronavirus cases shutter Italian village

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Bars, schools and offices in a small northern Italian town are shutting down for up to five days to try to quell fears over six cases of the new coronavirus.

Six people have tested positive for the in the town of Codogno, population 15,000. Three of those have fallen ill—including the most serious, a 38-year-old man in —while the other three tested positive in a first test and are awaiting results of a second.

Codogno Mayor Francesco Passerini issued a decree on Friday ordering the immediate closure of schools, municipal offices, stores selling food, bars, discos, and sports facilities.

About 80 venues will be affected. The order could last between 48 hours to five days.

Discovery of the cases "has created a situation of alarm throughout the municipality," Passerini said.

It has not been confirmed by how transmission of the virus occurred.

The man in intensive care dined earlier this month with another man who had visited China in January. He exhibited flu-like symptoms at the time of the dinner, but has since tested negative for the virus, said.

The pregnant wife of the man in intensive care and a friend of his with whom he played sports are the other two confirmed cases.

Italy has reported another three confirmed cases of the new coronavirus. The first reported were a Chinese couple who were on holiday when they fell ill, who have been in isolation at a hospital in Rome since late January.

An Italian man who was evacuated from Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak in China, earlier this month also tested positive for the virus, but has since recovered.

The outbreak of the so-called COVID-19 illness which began in December has killed more than 2,200 people and infected more than 75,500 in China, while more than 1,150 people have been infected and eight have died across 26 other countries, according to the World Health Organization.

© 2020 AFP

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