Milan (HRNW) Cases of the new coronavirus in Italy, the most affected country in Europe, rose on Saturday to nearly 80, killing two people and prompting the government to close off the worst hit areas in the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto. Authorities in the two regions, where the outbreak is concentrated, have cancelled sports events, including three top league soccer games, and closed schools and universities.
Companies from Ray-Ban owner Luxottica to the country’s top bank UniCredit have told workers living in the affected areas to stay home. Lombardy and Veneto represent Italy’s industrial heart and jointly account for 30% of gross domestic output. With an emergency decree passed at a meeting in the headquarters of Italy’s civil protection agency, the government adopted special powers to be able to stop people leaving or entering the worst impacted zones. Competent ministers will also be able to halt sports events and school trips outside those areas.