Italy takes steps to stop spread of coronavirus

The Italian government decided to limit entrance and exit points Sunday in a bid to control coronavirus after the number of confirmed cases here nears 80.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte gathered his Cabinet shortly after the increase of registered cases of coronavirus, or Covid 19, and delivered remarks about the current situation and upcoming measures.

Conte said his administration will work hard to prevent a large scale outbreak and essential measures were taken in the Lombardy and Veneto regions, where cases have been observed, adding entrance and exit from and to those regions would be monitored.

He went on to say that people would not be permitted in or out of those areas, with the rare exception, and those refusing the policy could be fined.

Civil Defense Director Angelo Borrelli said there are now 76 confirmed cases, including 18 in critical condition. The virus has claimed two lives in Italy.

Education Minister Lucia Azzolina said education would be suspended from Feb. 24 to 29 in regions facing a coronavirus risk.

Death toll reaches 2,444

China's National Health Commission announced Sunday the death toll of the novel coronavirus hit 2,444 with thousands of patients facing serious health conditions.

According to the commission's statement, 97 people lost their lives due to the virus, and about 650 new cases were confirmed in the past 24 hours.

So far, more than 76,000 people have been diagnosed with the virus in China with almost 11,000 facing serious health conditions.

Notably, about 23,000 people have been discharged from hospitals once virus symptoms were no longer observed following a successful treatment process.

Coronavirus has spread to more than 28 other countries including the Israel and Lebanon, the new latest countries that have reported coronavirus cases.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak an international health emergency.