The Prime Minister of Italy has just gone on national television and announced the government is extending the "Red Zone" for coronavirus outbreak, to the ENTIRE COUNTRY of Italy. The ENTIRE COUNTRY is now ordered under Lockdown. UPDATE: TANKS DEPLOYING ON CITY STREETS ! ! !
This is a developing story, check back for updates.
UPDATE 5:07 PM EDT --
The Prime Minister has told the Italian people they should ALL stay home. It is the only sure way to end the spread of the virus. If they do not stop the virus immediately, the country's health system will be so overloaded it will collapse, then no one gets care. Staying home will save lives.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Monday he will sign a decree that extends the lockdown of the Lombardy region to the entire country as Italy’s COVID-19 death toll continues to rise.
Around 60 million people will now effectively be placed under quarantine by the strict measures which had already been introduced in northern and some central areas over the weekend.
People throughout the country should not leave their homes other than for work and emergencies, Conte said. He added that all public gatherings will be banned and sporting events suspended. The decision was made to protect the most vulnerable people in the country, he said, and the measures will take effect Tuesday.
Schools and universities all over the country will remain closed until April 3, he said, but public transit will remain operational. All schools in the country were previously closed until March 15.
Italian officials previously announced a lockdown of the Lombardy region, which is the hardest-hit part of the country by COVID-19. The drastic expansion of the measures to encompass the entire country come after nationwide COVID-19 deaths jumped by 97 to 463.
Italy is the hardest-hit country in Europe by the virus, with a total of at least 9,172 confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.
UPDATE 5:40 PM EDT --
Tanks are deploying onto the streets of cities in Italy to enforce the QUARANTINE! ! ! Video below:
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