Published On: Fri, Jan 31st, 2020

Italian Council of Ministers declares state of emergency due to coronavirus health risk

Rome has declared a state of emergency for six months in response to Italy’s first two coronavirus cases. The decision comes after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the epidemic a global crisis.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced on Friday that two Chinese tourists staying in Rome had tested positive for the virus. As part of its emergency measures, Italy has suspended all direct flights to China.

The tourists from Wuhan – the Chinese city where the virus originated – made several stops in Italy, including Milan and Parma, before arriving in Rome. Eighteen other Chinese citizens who were part of their tour group have been placed under observation.

The WHO declared on Thursday that the outbreak, which began in Wuhan, constitutes a global health emergency. The virus has killed at least 213 people – all of them in China – but has managed to spread to around almost 20 countries, infecting individuals who had never visited China.

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A general view of the accommodation block that will be used to house repatriated British nationals from Wuhan at Arrowe Park hospital in Birkenhead, Britain, January 31, 2020. © REUTERS/Phil Noble
Coronavirus reaches UK: Two members of same family test positive

Although the vast majority of confirmed infections are inside China, other countries continue to report new cases. The UK announced its first two cases on Friday, and said that the patients – identified as family members – were being closely monitored.

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