Northern Italian authorities order citizens to wear masks outside

Northern Italian authorities order citizens to wear masks outside
An ambulance arrives at Humanitas Gavazzeni hospital first aid service as workers of a funeral agency take away a body during the coronavirus crisis in Bergamo, Italy, on March 21. File Photo by Filippo Venezia/EPA-EFE

April 4 (UPI) -- Authorities in the northern Italian region of Lombardy have ordered all citizens to wear masks outside as death toll from the coronavirus reaches more than 15,000 across the country.

Regional President Attilio Fontana said the order will be in effect until April 13. It requires everyone who is outside in public to have their nose and mouth covered "with masks, or even through simple scarves."


"The already authorized retail businesses also have the obligation to provide their customer with disposable gloves and hydro-alcoholic solutions for hand hygiene," Fontana added.

The United States has the most cases worldwide at 297,575 cases, but Italy, which has 124,632 cases, still has the most deaths with 15,362 deaths confirmed as of 2:58 p.m. Saturday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins University's global tracker.

RELATED CDC recommends healthy Americans wear masks, too

Fontana warned that strict adherence to the governments's restriction was needed to reach the goal of preventing more deaths from the virus.

"No goal has been reached yet, and we have to keep working, otherwise all our efforts will vanish," Fontana said.

Spain, which has 124,736 cases, has the second-highest death toll worldwide at 11,744 deaths followed by the United States, which has 8,162 deaths.

RELATED Boeing shutters Philadelphia-area facilities after employees test positive for COVID-19

The deaths of 809 people in 24 hours brought the death toll in Spain to 11,744. The deaths were a rise of 7.3 percent, but the lowest increase since March 26.

Still, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has extended the country's coronavirus lockdown to April 25.

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said Saturday the country will extend social distancing for two weeks during the coronavirus pandemic.

RELATED Researchers spot weakness in coronavirus that could provide clues to cure

South Korea's COVID-19 caseload has slowed since early March when around 500 new cases were reported a day.

Ninety-four new cases were confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control And Prevention Saturday, but there has been concern about coronavirus cases steadily rising in the metropolitan area of Seoul, where millions live.

Chung raised concerns about rising infections tied to arrivals from Europe and the United States and said there would be economic implications of extending social distancing, but it was needed so their efforts weren't in vain.

RELATED Queen Elizabeth to record rare televised address on COVID-19

"We very well know that continuing social distancing comes with massive costs and sacrifice," Chung said. "But if we loosen things right now, the effort we so far invested could pop and disappear like a bubble."


The "strengthened social distance," will last until April 19, according to South Korean government officials.

South Korea has had 10,156 cases and 177 deaths reported Saturday.

Globally, more than 1 million cases and more than 60,000 deaths have been confirmed.

Other countries are extending or announcing new lockdowns to control the spread of the virus.

In Britain, social distancing rules will remain in place for several more weeks even though virus scientist Neil Ferguson told the BBC there appears to be early signs the virus may be "slowing down a little bit."

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is still in self-isolation after being diagnosed with the virus, urged people to stay at home this weekend to save lives, despite the forecast for "fine weather" Saturday.

Britain had 42,441 cases and 4,320 deaths reported amid a three-week lockdown.

The World Health Organization warned governments in the Middle East to move fast to curb the spread after cases in the region rose nearly 60,000.

In Egypt, a link between northeast Africa with the Middle East, health officials on Friday urged people to stay home until April 10. Egypt has reported 1,070 cases and 71 deaths.


Pakistan, which has 2,818 cases and 41 deaths, has extended its lockdown until April 14, the country's National Coordination Committee on COVID-19 announced Wednesday.

The shutdown will impact domestic and international flight with an exception from April 3 to April 11 for special flights for Canadian and British citizens leaving the country.

China now has 85,543 cases, 3,330 deaths and 76,946 recoveries. The city of Wuhan -- the epicenter of the outbreak -- is beginning to open up after two-month lockdown, but officials said residents should still only go outside if necessary.

Scenes from a pandemic: World copes with COVID-19

A health worker with the Israeli national emergency service, Magen David Adam, wears protective gear while taking swabs to test for COVID-19 at a drive-through testing center in East Jerusalem on August 26. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo

Latest Headlines


Follow Us