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Italy takes severe measures in the battle trying to combat the Coronavirus (Covid-19), according to BBC.

Italy has placed up to 16 million people under quarantine as it battles to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Anyone living in Lombardy and 14 other central and northern provinces will need special permission to travel. Milan and Venice are both affected.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte also announced the closure of schools, gyms, museums, nightclubs and other venues across the whole country.

The measures, the most radical taken outside China, will last until 3 April.

Italy has seen the largest number of coronavirus cases in Europe and reported a steep rise in infections on Saturday. The strict new quarantine measures affect a quarter of the Italian population and centre on the northern part of the country that powers its economy.

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Under the new measures, people are not supposed to be able to enter or leave the whole northern region of Lombardy, home to 10 million people, except for emergency access. Milan is the main city in the region.

The same restrictions apply to 14 provinces: Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, Rimini, Pesaro and Urbino, Alessandria, Asti, Novara, Verbano Cusio Ossola, Vercelli, Padua, Treviso and Venice.

"There will be no movement in or out of these areas, or within them, unless for proven, work-related reasons emergencies or health reasons," Mr Conte told reporters.

(www.bbc.com - Coronavirus: Northern Italy quarantines 16 million people)

These severe measures are being taken in the light of the fact that the health care system in Lombardy is on its brink of collapse.

The health care system in the Italian region of Lombardy is on the brink of collapse, the head of its crisis response unit has said.

"We're now being forced to set up intensive care treatment in corridors, in operating theatres, in recovery rooms. We've emptied entire hospital sections to make space for seriously sick people," Antonio Pesenti told the Corriere della Sera newspaper.

"One of the best health systems in the world, in Lombardy, is a step away from collapse," he said.

(www.bbc.com - Lombardy health system 'step from collapse')

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