Italy's Coronavirus Death Toll Surges, More Events And Travel Canceled


BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — As Italy's coronavirus death toll rose from 233 on Saturday to 366 on Sunday, the government began the lockdown of 16 million people across northern Italy. There are now more than 7,300 diagnosed cases in the country, and nearly a quarter of the population under quarantine.

Crowds were seen rushing through Lombardy station to catch the last train out of town on Saturday night. The entire region is now on lockdown until April 3, with millions of residents being told to remain in their homes as much as possible, or face a possible three months in jail for breaking quarantine.

The 57 percent increase in COVID-19 deaths over a 24 hour period marks Italy's steepest rise in fatalities since the coronavirus outbreak began.

Here's more on how to spread of the virus is impacting everyday life across the globe.

AC Milan v Genoa CFC - Serie A

AC Milan v Genoa CFC - Serie A

An empty soccer stadium in Italy for an AC Milan vs. Genoa CFC match on March 8, 2020 (Getty Images)

Entertainment/Sports

In Northern Italy, spectators have been banned from attending any sporting event for the next month, although the events themselves are still going ahead. All museums, theaters, bingo parlors, swimming pools, and cultural centers are closed. Bars and restaurants are only allowed to stay open until 6 p.m. as long as the operators ensure customers sit at least three feet apart. The country also canceled the alpine skiing World Cup Finals, and a major Italian cycling race. Surrounding countries like Austria, France, and Germany are also starting to close schools and restrict public events.

In Canada, the two-week long International Ice Hockey Women's World Championship has been called off. In Scotland, the Women's Six Nations Rugby Match between Scotland and France was postponed on Saturday after one of the Scottish team members tested positive for COVID-19.

In Columbus, Ohio, the 32nd Arnold Schwarzenegger Sport Festival will go ahead with 22,000 athletes in attendance, but no spectators will be allowed. The NBA has also issued a memo to all 30 teams to prepare to play in front of empty stadiums if necessary.

Travel

Flight prices may be low, but travel experts say anyone still planning a trip to Europe will not get to experience the continent in full. That's because many places where people usually gather like museums, stadiums and concert halls are being ordered to shut down amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

From March 9, Italy's flagship airline Alitalia says any national and international service to and from Milan will be suspended. The airline's last incoming flight will be AZ 605 from New York, landing in Milan on Monday morning. Several other international U.S-based airlines are offering to waive their flight change fees.

Rail travel across the U.S. is also being impacted, with Amtrak announcing a temporary suspension of its service between New York City and Washington D.C.

Religious Gatherings

The doors are now closed at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. The Pope canceled a public appearance this weekend in St. Peter's square in order to keep crowds from forming. Pope Francis said he would instead stream the Angelus prayer online from inside the Vatican.

The Episcopal Diocese and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago both issued guidelines to clergy and priests to modify their religious practices. Some churches will not use a cup during communion, and others are telling the congregation to bump elbows instead of shake hands or hug.

Summits/Conferences

Dozens of tech conferences and conventions have been postponed, including Facebook's Global Marketing Summit in San Francisco. A Global Health Conference & Exhibition by HIMSS where President Trump was scheduled to speak in Orlando has been called off.

The American Physical Society canceled its annual meeting in Denver that was expecting thousands of participants. In Boston, the Open Data Science Conference is being held as a virtual option instead of at the Hynes Convention Center April 13-17. Seattle's Emerald City Comic Con is canceled following nine coronavirus-related deaths there.

Music Events

In the U.S., organizers have already called off SXSW music festival in Austin, TX. Rock band GreenDay announced they would be canceling their tour dates in Asia for March. The band were scheduled to perform in Thailand, South Korea, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan. Singer Mariah Carey also canceled her upcoming March 10 concern in Honolulu, HI. Ultra Music Festival in Miami has been effectively canceled, as was its sister festival in Abu Dhabi.

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