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Italy, 3 Coronavirus-linked deaths

As the number of people contracting the virus continued to mount, an elderly cancer patient became the third person known to be infected with the Coronavirus to die in Italy, health officials said on Sunday.

The death of the woman in a hospital in the small city of Crema in Lombardy, the center of Italy’s Coronavirus scare, followed that of a 77-year-old woman on Saturday and a 78-year-old man on Friday, the first European victim of Coronavirus.

The head of Italy’s civil protection department, Angelo Borrelli, told a news conference that 152 people had now tested positive for the virus in the country, including the three deceased.

The deaths, and steadily rising number of cases of infected people, have prompted a series of security measures to try to check the spread of the contagion.

Eleven towns; 10 in Lombardy and 1 in neighboring Veneto, are under lock-down, with some 50,000 residents prohibited from leaving. Regional authorities have ordered gathering spots, such as bars, restaurants and discos to close.

Schools throughout the affected areas are to remain closed.

Most of the cases in Italy are in Lombardy, a prosperous region in the country’s north, and can be traced back to a 38-year-old man whom authorities have called “patient one”.

Health officials are still puzzled over certain cases with no obvious links with infected persons.