Italy reports a 50 percent increase in confirmed coronavirus cases


A cleaner sanitizes a wagon on a regional train at the Garibaldi train station in Milan, Italy, Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. Authorities are taking new measures to sanitize trains and public transportation after the COVID-19 virus outbreak. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Jay Croft, CNN

(CNN) — Italy reported a 50% increase in coronavirus cases Sunday, as the U.S. further restricted travel and the famed La Scala opera house closed.

Italy’s Civil Protection Authority reported the county now has 1,694 confirmed coronavirus cases, up from 1,128 confirmed cases on Saturday. Thirty-four people have died.

Italy has the most coronavirus cases of any country outside of Asia.

Delta Air Lines is suspending its U.S. flights to Milan, the carrier announced Sunday. The last flight out will be depart New York on Monday. The last return flight will be on Tuesday.

Delta said it will resume flights to Milan on May 1. Rome flights are not affected.

Concerns affecting cultural institutions 

In Milan, the La Scala opera house will be closed until March 8, according to a notice on its official website.

“In relation to the diffusion of the coronavirus, the prime minister has decreed the suspension of all events and initiatives and of all meeting in public places, including cultural ones, until Sunday 8 March,” says a notice on the opera house’s website.

“In compliance with these provisions, all performances and events open to the public at La Scala until 8 March are cancelled,” it said.

In Lombardy, the northern Italian region at the center of the country’s outbreak, one in 10 confirmed coronavirus cases involve medical personnel, according to Paola Stringa, a press officer for the Lombardy regional government.

The welfare assessor in charge of regional health care in Lombardy, Giulio Gallera, told reporters on Saturday the region is evaluating whether to dedicate an entire hospital to coronavirus patients.

“We have given the instruction to hospital to swab all the patients that come in with respiratory diseases symptoms. It’s important to preserve the well-being of medical personnel, which today represents the 10% of the infected,” Gallera said.

Italy put several cities and towns in the country’s north on lockdown, banning people from entering or leaving affected areas, suspending public events and closing attractions, such as museums, to the public, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. The measure effectively put an estimated 100,000 people under quarantine.

In Paris, The Louvre remained closed Sunday, a museum representative said in a statement to CNN.

The Louvre said its closing wasn’t ordered by the government, which Saturday canceled all public gatherings of 5,000 people or more in confined spaces. That included the Paris Half Marathon on Sunday.

France has recorded 100 cases and two deaths.

UN calls increases ‘deeply concerning’

The Trump administration said Saturday that it was raising the travel advisory level for parts of Italy and South Korea where the coronavirus has spread widely. On Sunday, Trump said in a tweet that people will be screened for coronavirus upon arriving in the U.S. if they are traveling from high-risk countries.

Katie Miller, a spokeswoman for Vice President Mike Pence, clarified to CNN what is covered under the screening measures Trump mentioned in his tweet.

“There is already screening for those coming into the United States for those who have been in China in the last 14 days. This will be expanded to Italy and South Korea,” Miller said. “Additionally we are currently working on exit screening from South Korea, Italy, and other European Nations as needed.”

The UN called the increase of cases in Italy, Iran and South Korea “deeply concerning.”


™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.