Italy closes all bars and shops except pharmacies and food outlets as coronavirus death toll soars almost 200 in a day – The Sun

ITALY has taken the extraordinary step to close all shops except pharmacies and food outlets in a desperate attempt to control the spread of coronavirus.

It comes as Italian health officials said the death toll today had risen to 827 from 631.

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On Monday, Italian PM Guiseppe Conte extended a lockdown area already covering much of the north to the whole country.

The move means all public events banned, cinemas, gyms and pubs closed, funerals and weddings cancelled and sporting matches including Serie A games suspended.

The PM today added even more drastic restrictions to fight the deadly bug after Italy posted the highest daily increase in deaths of any country since the outbreak began.

Mr Conte said all shops would be shuttered except supermarkets, food stores and chemists, and companies must close all their departments that are not essential to production.

Hairdressers and beauty parlours will close, along with bars and restaurants that cannot guarantee they can keep a distance of at least one metre between customers.

In a live broadcast, Mr Conte said: "I want to thank Italians who have made sacrifices.

"We are showing that we can be a great nation. Let's keep apart now so that tomorrow we can embrace."

Italian giants Juventus today revealed Daniele Rugani has tested positive for COVID-19.

The 25-year-old has been placed in quarantine as the Serie A club makes checks on those who have had contact with him.

The World Health Organisation today declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic, as eight people were confirmed to have died from the deadly bug in the UK.

WHO director-general Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus said the number of cases of Covid-19 outside China has increased 13-fold in the past two weeks, and the number of affected countries has tripled.

He said individual countries could still change the course of the virus through their actions, but said: "In the days and weeks ahead, we expect to see the number of Covid-19 cases, the number of deaths, and the number of affected countries, climb even higher.

"WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction.

"We have therefore made the assessment that Covid-19 can be characterised as a pandemic."

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