Vatican closes Saint Peter's Square and Basilica to tour groups

Vatican closes Saint Peter's Square and Basilica to tour groups
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The Vatican has closed Saint Peter's Square and Basilica to tour groups amid expanding travel restrictions across Italy due to the coronavirus outbreak.

St. Peter's Square and Basilica have been closed to guided groups but individuals can enter the basilica to pray, the Vatican said on Tuesday, according to Yahoo News.

The Vatican will close its post office in the square, as well as a bookstore and other tourist services. An employee cafeteria inside the Vatican will also shut down as a precautionary measure until April 3. 

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Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Sunday that all areas near the epicenter of the coronavirus in the north would be locked down, impacting nearly 16 million people.

On Monday, the government of Italy said it would extend travel restrictions to the entire country.

Italy maintains the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths outside of China, with more than 9,100 cases and 463 deaths. 

Approximately 724 people in the country have recovered from the disease, The Hill previously reported.