Flavio Lo Scalzo/Reuters
- Italy on Tuesday entered its first day of a nationwide lockdown.
- Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the unprecedented measure after a surge of coronavirus cases.
- At least 9,100 people have been infected, and 463 have died, officials said Monday night. Italy has the highest death toll in the world outside China.
- The northern region of Lombardy and 14 nearby provinces, where an estimated 16 million people live, had been quarantined starting Sunday.
- The restriction zone has now been expanded to encompass the entire country of 60 million people.
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Italy's nationwide lockdown began Tuesday after its number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose past 9,100 and its death toll jumped to 463 on Monday night. It has the most cases and deaths of any country outside China.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced his decision to put the entire country on lockdown on Monday night.
He ordered people to stay home and seek permission for essential travel, the BBC reported.
He also canceled all sports gatherings across the country, urging citizens to keep the common good at the top of mind and help control the spread of the coronavirus, the BBC reporter Mark Lowen tweeted.
"All the measure of the red zones are now extended to all of the national territory," Conte said at a press conference, stressing that this decision was meant to safeguard the nation's citizens, particularly its more vulnerable communities, according to CNN.
The containment measure takes effect Tuesday and is scheduled to last through April 3, as was the case with the initial so-called red zone in Northern Italy.
People can continue to use public transit to get to and from work but can expect to be asked by the police and other officials to explain their reason for traveling, BuzzFeed News said. No activities and public gatherings beyond that are allowed, and a 6p.m. curfew is being enforced, Conte said.
Schools, museums, theaters, and swimming pools throughout Italy have been closed, and weddings and funerals halted. Mortgage payments have been suspended, entire towns have been sealed off, and Italy's popular tourist destinations lie deserted.
Conte's announcement came on the heels of a turbulent day for Italy's prison system with inmates rioting and setting fires and dozens escaping.
Over the weekend, the government had quarantined the northern region of Lombardy and 14 nearby provinces. Lombardy, home to the major city of Milan, is the worst-hit Italian region.
On Monday, the country's death toll from the virus shot past 366, which had been reported just one day prior. In response, Conte extended the restriction zone to encompass the whole country of over 60 million people, the BBC reported.
Early Tuesday morning, a 38-year-old man known as Italy's "Patient No. 1" was moved out of intensive care for the first time since he tested positive in late February in Lombardy, giving doctors what the Associated Press described as "a small victory" in the crisis.
The novel coronavirus is thought to have broken out in Wuhan, China, late last year and has since infected more than 115,000 people globally and led to more than 4,000 deaths. China appears to be turning a corner with the disease, reporting fewer infections and deaths every day, though it still accounts for a majority of total cases.
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- Italy's coronavirus death toll rose by nearly 60% in a day as the country put 16 million people on lockdown
- The healthcare system in Italy's Lombardy region is so strained from the new coronavirus that officials are asking doctors to come out of retirement and nursing students are being fast-tracked to graduation
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