Venice carnival canceled over virus fears

Venice carnival canceled over virus fears
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Italy announced it would cancel its Venice Carnival, which would have run through next Tuesday, amid concerns about the novel coronavirus.

The famed celebration was called off as part of measures in the region to prohibit large public gatherings after a third person in the country died from the virus, The Associated Press reported. Italy has seen 152 total cases, the largest number outside of Asia.

“The ordinance is immediately operative and will go into effect at midnight,″ Veneto Regional Gov. Luca Zaia announced Sunday.

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Zaia told press that public transportation, including buses, trains, and, in the case of Venice, boats will be disinfected and museums shut down after Sunday. Three coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Venice, all of them in their late 80s, the AP reported.

The cases in Italy have been concentrated in the country’s northern region, with the vast majority, 110, in Lombardy. The only cases in the south so far have been a Chinese couple in Rome who tested positive earlier this month.

Angelo Borrelli, head of the national Civil Protection agency, told reporters in Rome that public health officials have not yet identified the “patient zero” in Italy.

An Italian man in Codogno became critically ill last week, with officials originally assuming he contracted it through an Italian friend who recently returned from his Shanghai job, but both the friend and several Chinese nationals who frequent the same café where the man dined before taking ill have tested negative.

Borrelli said that in the meantime officials will focus on stemming the spread through public restrictions and closures. Direct flights from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau have also been frozen.