A fourth person infected with the coronavirus has died in Italy, officials said on Monday as the government struggled to contain an outbreak of the illness and financial markets slid on fears over the economic impact.
More than 200 people have come down with the virus since Friday, latest data showed, the vast majority of them in the wealthy northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto.
Looking to slow the progress of the highly contagious disease, authorities in the worst hit areas have shut schools, universities, museums and cinemas, and banned all public events.
Almost a dozen towns in Lombardy southeast of Italy’s financial capital Milan, with a combined population of nearly 50,000 have been placed under effective quarantine, with similar measures in place for a small town in neighboring Veneto.
The worst-hit region Lombardy announced 53 new cases of coronavirus overnight, bringing the total there to 165 in just four days. Some 22 people had the virus in Veneto, while a handful of infections were also recorded in the adjacent regions of Piedmont and Emilia Romagna.
The fourth person to die of the virus came from Lombardy, officials said. He was an 84-year-old man who had been in hospital for treatment for an unrelated illness when he was struck down by the disease.
The three other people who have died of the illness were also elderly and at least two of them had serious underlying health problems.