Virus Death Toll Surges as Italy Tightens Lockdown

Washington may introduce 'mandatory measures'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 9, 2020 6:50 AM CDT
Updated Mar 9, 2020 7:01 AM CDT
Virus Death Toll Surges as Italy Tightens Lockdown
In this photo taken on Sunday, March 8, 2020, a Russian medic checks the temperature of passengers arriving from Italy on a plane at Sheremetyevo airport outside Moscow, Russia.   (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

The coronavirus death toll in Italy soared Monday, with much of the country's north locked down under a sweeping quarantine order. Officials say the death toll in the worst coronavirus outbreak outside Asia has gone up by 133 to 366, with the number of infections rising by 25% to 7,375 from 5,883, the BBC reports. Some 16 million people in Lombardy and neighboring regions have had their travel severely restricted under the quarantine order, which is not expected to be lifted until next month. Authorities say at least six people were killed in prison riots in Italy after they were told that visits would be banned under virus control measures. In other developments:

  • "Mandatory measures" possible in Washington state. There have been no similar quarantine orders in the US, but Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Sunday that "mandatory measures" for social distancing are being considered as the state battles the worst coronavirus outbreak in the US so far, the Seattle Times reports.
  • At least 21 dead in the US. The US death toll now stands at 21, with most of the deaths in Washington state, reports the Washington Post. There are now more than 500 confirmed cases in the US, though some White House officials expect the number to double within days.

  • "Now is the time for social distancing." For people who are especially vulnerable, including older people with underlying health problems, "now is the time for social distancing" to avoid the coronavirus. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, tells the New York Times. "Don’t go to crowded places, think twice before a long plane trip, and for goodness sake don’t go on any cruises," he says.
  • North Korea tightens lockdown. The AP reports that a plane from North Korea carrying dozens of diplomats and other foreigners landed in Russia on Monday. They were among hundreds of foreigners who had been under a monthlong quarantine in North Korea, which has not publicly confirmed a single coronavirus case, but has closed schools, tightened a border lockdown, and quarantined thousands of people.
  • Wuhan closes temporary hospitals. The outbreak is apparently continuing to recede in China, where authorities reported only 40 new cases Monday, the lowest number since it began providing figures in January, RTHK reports. In Wuhan, where the outbreak began, 11 out of 16 makeshift hospitals set up to deal with the surge in patients have now closed.
(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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