Authorities have quarantined at least 10 towns in northern Italy in an attempt to contain the spread of the coronavirus. World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that there are still chances to contain the virus from spreading beyond China, "but the window of opportunity is narrowing".
Serie A president Paolo Dal Pinto sent a letter to the government on Monday asking that games no longer be postponed in the affected areas but played without fans in attendance - noting there is little time for make-up dates considering all elite soccer competitions must be completed by May 24 because of the upcoming European Championship. The three previous fatalities recorded since Friday were also all elderly and most of the dead had serious underlying health problems.
The deaths, and steadily rising number of cases of infected people, have prompted a series of security measures to try to check the spread of the contagion. A postmortem on a 77-year-old woman in Lombardy came back positive, though it was not clear if illness from the virus caused her death.
While those regions are now closed off, with schools and businesses being shut down to prevent the spread of the disease, there are still fears it could affect other parts of the country.
The shutdown affects a population of 50,000 living in the quarantined areas.
Authorities have expressed frustration they have not been able to track down the source of the virus spread in the north of Italy, possibly by a so-called superspreader. Euronews writes that it is unclear how exactly the man became infected: he was diagnosed at the last moment. "Two died, while one person was discharged from Spallanzani", Head of Civil Protection Angelo Borrelli commented. Tests were being administered on the 38-year-old's doctor, who paid him a home visit, as well as on 120 people he worked with in the research and development branch of Unilever in the town of Casalpusterlengo, Gallera said.
But Lombardy governor Attilio Fontana told reporters all of those Chinese people had tested negative. The plane returned to the terminal, where the person disembarked.
Diplomatic staff are not being allowed out of their compounds in the reclusive state or to leave the country - including the British embassy, Sky News understands.
It also confirmed 15 new cases yesterday, taking the total to 43.
For Italians barricaded in the dozen small towns around the two main clusters of the outbreak, the outlook for the next two weeks appeared bleak, with the only order of business getting enough food in the house, keeping distance from one another and getting tested.