Italy’s government orders all shops, bars and restaurants to close

The Guardian | and in Rome: Authorities in virus-hit country take extreme measures as Covid-19 takes hold in Europe

Italy’s government has ordered all shops, bars and restaurants across the country to close after the country’s death toll from the coronavirus outbreak rose by 31% in the space of 24 hours to a total of 827.

As governments across Europe cancelled events, shut schools and imposed travel bans and the World Health Organization formally declared a pandemic, the Italian prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, said all stores would close nationwide bar those selling “basic necessities”, such as pharmacies and supermarkets.

“Industries can stay open, but with strict measures in place, as well as essential services such as banks. Transport will be guaranteed,” Conte said on Wednesday night, warning Italy’s population of over 60 million not to “rush to the supermarkets” as shelves would be restocked as normal.

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