Rome, Feb 23 (IANS) The Venice Carnival was ordered shut on Sunday, two days ahead of schedule, and a lockdown imposed in party northern Italy, as authorities scramble to control the country’s coronavirus outbreak, which is so far Europe’s worst, reports said.
Italy has by far the highest number of coronavirus cases in Europe, with 130. Three people have died, the BBC reported.
Strict quarantine restrictions are in place in two northern “hotspot” regions close to Milan and Venice, with entry and exit into several towns in Veneto and Lombardy barred for around 50,000 people for the next two weeks without special permission.
Even outside the zone, many businesses and schools have suspended activities, and sporting events have been cancelled including several top football matches.
Elsewhere, authorities in South Korea and Iran are battling to control rising numbers of infections. South Korea has raised its coronavirus alert to the “highest level”.
The new strain of coronavirus, which originated last year in China’s Hubei province, has caused over 76,000 infections and 2,442 deaths in the country. The virus has since spread to at least 11 other countries.