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Northern Italy Quarintines 16 Million people.

After a jump in cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, Italy ordered a quarantine affecting 16 million people in the country’s north.

The decree was announced in the early hours of Sunday, prompting confusion from travelers as well as local officials, who said they had not been kept in the loop about the plans. The order is affecting about a quarter of Italy’s population, including the Lombardy region and more than a dozen other provinces — which are home to the cities of Milan and Venice.

“There will be a ban for everybody to move in and out of these territories and also within the same territory,” Italian Premiere Giuseppe Conte said, according to the Associated Press. “Exceptions will be allowed only for proven professional needs, exceptional cases and health issues.”

The number of COVID-19 cases in Italy has been increasing and stands at more than any other country in the world except for China. Italian officials on Sunday announced that 366 people had died and more than 7,000 people had been infected — a jump from Saturday’s numbers of 233 deaths and less than 6,000 cases.

The move was applauded by the World Health Organization, whose director-general called it bold and courageous while acknowledging the sacrifice it entailed.

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