Widespread closures

Italy puts 16m in quarantine to combat virus

Quiet streets: Italy expects a huge impact on tourism

Sixteen million people in northern Italy will be in lockdown until early April under new measures to halt the spread of coronavirus.

Government measures include closure of gyms, swimming pools, museums and ski resorts and represent a dramatic escalation of efforts to combat the disease in Europe’s worst hit-country.

Restaurants and cafes can open but customers must sit at least a metre apart.

People will be told to stay home and anyone who breaks the quarantine could face three months in jail.

Sports competitions will be played behind closed doors.

It will have a severe impact on the local economy and on tourism in particular.

The death toll in Italy has passed 230, with officials reporting 36 deaths in 24 hours. The number of confirmed cases jumped by 1,247 to 5,883 on Saturday the biggest daily tally.

The measures published in a draft government decree were obtained by Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

The whole northern region of Lombardy and Italy’s financial centre Milan, will be closed off except to emergency access, and 11 provinces including Venice, Parma and Modena will be affected.

Banks redeploy staff

The number of confirmed cases in the UK has risen to 209, with more expected to announced in Scotland, and some companies are taking action to protect employees.

On Monday many of JPMorgan’s staff are being temporarily moved to other offices. It has UK operations in Glasgow and Edinburgh as well as London and Bournemouth.

Goldman Sachs last week sent around 200 members of staff to test a site in Croydon, South London for the day to ensure the systems worked effectively.

HSBC sent home more than 100 staff from the tenth floor of its Canary Wharf offices on Thursday. The move came after one staff member, who was part of the research division, returned from Asia and was diagnosed with the Covid-19 virus.

Sports events hit

 This month’s Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix will take place behind closed doors. The race will go ahead as a televised event.

The International Ice Hockey Federation called off the Women’s World Ice Hockey Championships due to take place in Canada 31 March to 10 April.

The Barcelona marathon scheduled for 15 March has been suspended until 25 October.

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