New coronavirus cases shutter Italian village

Bars, schools and offices in a small northern Italian town are shutting down for up to five days to try to quell fears over six cases of the new coronavirus.

Six people have tested positive for the virus in the town of Codogno, population 15,000. Three of those have fallen ill—including the most serious, a 38-year-old man in intensive care—while the other three tested positive in a first test and are awaiting results of a second.

Codogno Mayor Francesco Passerini issued a decree on Friday ordering the immediate closure of schools, municipal offices, stores selling food, bars, discos, and sports facilities.

About 80 venues will be affected. The order could last between 48 hours to five days.

Discovery of the cases “has created a situation of alarm throughout the municipality,” Passerini said.

It has not been confirmed by health authorities how transmission of the virus occurred.

The man in intensive care dined earlier this month with another man who had visited China in January. He exhibited flu-like symptoms at the time of the dinner, but has since tested negative for the virus, media reports said.

The pregnant wife of the man in intensive care and a friend of his with whom he played sports are the other two confirmed cases.

Italy has reported another three confirmed cases of the new coronavirus. The first reported were a Chinese couple who were on holiday when they fell ill, who have been in isolation at a hospital in Rome since late January.

An Italian man who was evacuated from Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak in China, earlier this month also tested positive for the virus, but has since recovered.

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