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Italy closes cinemas, theatres, museums nationwide in virus lockdown

Italy has closed museums, theatres, cinemas and other entertainment venues nationwide to fight the spread of the coronavirus, said a decree signed Sunday by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

On top of the forced quarantine of 15 million people in vast areas of northern Italy until April 3, the government has also closed schools, nightclubs and casinos throughout the country, according to the text of the decree published on the government website.

With more than 230 fatalities, Italy has recorded the most deaths from the COVID-19 disease of any country outside China, where the outbreak began in December

So far most of the world’s 3,500 virus deaths have been in China, but COVID-19 has killed people in at least 95 nations and territories — including Argentina, which counted Latin America’s first death on Saturday.

Anxious passengers aboard a US cruise ship were confined to their cabins in waters off San Francisco, awaiting test results after an outbreak among the crew.

The fast-spreading virus has already spread to 30 US states, killing at least 19 people, with New York announcing a state of emergency.

Vice President Mike Pence, who is in charge of the US response to the COVID-19 outbreak, gave no indication Saturday as to when the Grand Princess ship might dock, saying only that it would be over the weekend.

He said all 3,533 passengers and crew would be tested for the coronavirus and quarantined if necessary, after news that 21 out of 45 people tested on board had the virus.

Meanwhile, another cruise ship, the Costa Fortuna, was turned away by Malaysia and Thailand due to virus fears, an official said Sunday. The boat is carrying around 2,000 people, including dozens of Italians.

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