The Italian government on Friday met to declare a state of emergency in response to the first confirmed cases of new coronavirus in the country.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced on Thursday that the deadly disease was diagnosed in two Chinese tourists in Rome, but said the situation was “absolutely under control.”
Declaring a state of emergency is a usual response in Italy to natural disasters or health emergencies.
Report says it allows public authorities to act more quickly and bypass red tape.
Authorities were checking potential contagion risks from the two Chinese patients; however a top health official said this was very unlikely.
“We are almost completely sure that has been no further contagion,’’ the Scientific Director of Rome’s Spallanzani hospital, where the two Chinese tourists are being treated, told Radio Capital.
Italy has suspended all flights connections to China, and Conte said the country was the first in the European Union “to take such a precautionary measure.”
Even before the coronavirus cases were confirmed, there were multiple reports of discrimination, with Chinese people insulted in the street or Chinese restaurants boycotted.
On Thursday, over 6,500 people were confined for hours in a cruise ship in Civitavecchia, a port near Rome, after a suspected coronavirus case was ruled out in the evening. (dpa/NAN)