Schools, businesses, restaurants...were all closed in a dozen northern Italian towns Saturday following reports of two deaths tied to an outbreak of the coronavirus in the region.
Local authorities in Lombardy and Veneto ordered the lockdown, including the cancellation of sporting events, while the mayor of Milan, the business capital of Italy, shuttered public offices. In Veneto, civil protection crews set up a tent camp outside a closed hospital, where several confirmed cases were being held in isolation, to screen medical staff for the virus. In Codogno, where the first patient in the north to fall ill was in critical condition, the main street was practically a ghost town Saturday. The few people out on the streets wore hard-to-get face masks.
Italy reports a total of Coronavirus 62 cases, many of them representing the first infections in the country via secondary contagion, that is, not directly from a visitor to China. The deaths come a day after health officials at the World Health Organization warned that attempts to contain the virus that erupted in China in December were at a crisis point.