Coronavirus update: Italy locks down 16 million people to stop disease spread, EUR/USD negative


Giuseppe Conte, Italy's Prime Minister, has signed a decree that severely limits transport in the region of Lombardy – which includes Milan – and other northern provinces. The government attempts to stop the spread of coronavirus. The number of Covid-19 cases nears 6,000, with the death toll reaching 223.

The drastic step – that is in effect at least until April 3 – puts around 16 million people in lockdown, a quarter of the population in the eurozone's third-largest economy.

The government bans entry to and exit from Lombardy and closes down cinemas, theaters, gyms, pubs, and discos. Funerals and weddings are also forbidden. Nicola Zingaretti, the leader of Italy's Democratic Party, announced on Saturday that he tested positive for coronavirus. 

Italy's industry is concentrated in the north of the country, and the decree implies severe economic damage, at least in the short term.

The signing, early on Sunday, is set to impact the euro negatively when trading resumes in Asia on March 9.

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