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After a large number of deaths in Italy, the government has banned all activities outside the area

By Imirasire On:22 March 2020

The death toll from the coronavirus pandemic continued its relentless rise in Europe on Sunday with Italy announcing 651 dead in one day, bringing its total to 5,476.

The Italian region of Lombardy has announced stricter measures in a bid to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

The move comes as Italy reported nearly 800 coronavirus deaths on Saturday and saw its toll now for the past month reach 5,476, the highest in the world.

Under the new rules publicized late on Saturday, all activities carried outside of their building like sport and other physical activities, even individually, is banned. Using vending machines is forbidden.

Lombardy is the worst-affected region in the country with 3,095 deaths.

The region’s President Attilio Fontana announced the new measures in a statement.

Businesses have been asked to close all operations excluding "essential" supply chains. Work on building sites will be stopped apart from those working on hospitals, roads and railways.

All open-air weekly markets have been suspended.

Across Italy there have been 59,138 total cases to date, with about 7,024 people having recovered.

Lombardy has been under a lockdown since 8 March and the government had hoped to see results there first.

On Saturday, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte ordered the closure of all "non-essential" businesses in the country. However he did not specify which businesses would be considered essential.

Supermarkets, pharmacies, post offices and banks will remain open and public transport will continue to run.

During a television address to the nation, he said: "We will slow down the country’s productive engine, but we will not stop it."

Mr Conte described the situation as "the most difficult crisis in our post-war period".

Despite the measures introduced so far, the number of new cases and deaths has continued to grow.

There have been about 300,000 cases of the virus worldwide with around 13,000 deaths currently.

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