Italy Coronavirus Cases Surge to 400
The number of coronavirus cases in Italy has surged to 400, amid international efforts to contain the spread of the deadly outbreak.
Italy is the main focus of infection in Europe.
The rise represents a 25% surge in 24 hours.
Several European countries announced new cases traced to Italy.
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On February 26, the World Health Organization said that for the first time the virus was spreading faster outside China, where it originated.
Globally, more than 80,000 people in about 40 countries have been infected with the new coronavirus, which emerged in December. The vast majority remain in China.
Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, has killed more than 2,700 people so far.
On February 26, authorities reported a total of 400 cases – a rise of 80 from February 25.
The worst-affected areas are in the industrial north of Italy – Lombardy, the region around Milan, and Veneto near Venice. The outbreak has killed 12 people in the country so far.
Government officials have sought to reassure the public, and insisted steps were being taken to prevent the spread of the disease.
Schools, universities and cinemas have been closed and several public events cancelled.
Eleven towns at the epicenter of the outbreak – home to a total of 55,000 people – have been quarantined.
There are fears that the outbreak may tip Italy into economic recession.
EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides told reporters after meeting the Italian health minister in Rome: “This is a situation of concern, but we must not give in to panic.
“There are still many unknowns about this virus and in particular its origin and how it spreads.”
In the past two days, Austria, Croatia, Greece, Norway, Switzerland, Georgia and North Macedonia reported their first coronavirus cases. Many of them involved people who had been to Italy.