Two coronavirus cases found in Italy

Chinese couple taken from hotel to Spallanzani Hospital

(ANSA) - Rome, January 31 - Italy declared a state of emergency Friday after two cases of the new coronavirus were found in Rome, a couple of Chinese tourists at a central Roman hotel.
    The couple arrived in Milan from Wuhan, the city at the centre of the outbreak, on January 23.
    They also stopped in Parma.
    The couple have been admitted to Rome's Spallanzani Hospital, which specialises in infectious diseases.
    Their room at the Palatino Hotel on Via Cavour has been cordoned off by health operators.
    It was decontaminated on Friday.
    The couple arrived in Rome by car, having hired it in Parma.
    There is also a suspected case in the Veneto region, a minor from the Treviso area who recently got back from a trip to China.
    Premier Giuseppe Conte has announced that all flights to and from China will stop.
    He announced a six-month state emergency, the first for a virus-spread health risk in Italy, and earmarked five million euros for the crisis.
    For the SARS outbreak in 2003, a special commissioner was appointed, civil protection chief Guido Bertolaso.
    Health Minister Roberto Speranza said "the measures taken are of a precautionary nature and put Italy at the highest level of caution on the international plane".
    Spallanzani Hospital Director Giuseppe Ippolito said "we are almost wholly tranquil that there have not been other cases of contagion".
    He urged citizens to be calm because the virus can only be transmitted after people show symptoms, and the Chinese couple were isolated as soon as they did.
    Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri said it was too early to estimate the potential impact of the virus on the Italian economy.
    Transport Minister Paola De Micheli said ports would remain open but controls would be stepped up.
    Some 68 Italians in Wuhan are set to airlifted back to Italy at the weekend.
    They will be held at the Cecchignola military base on the outskirts of Rome for a 14-day 'light quarantine'.
    Meanwhile at the port of Civitavecchia over 11,00 passengers on board the Costa Smeralda cruise ship disembarked after being held on the ship for a day because of a coronovirus scare involving a Macao woman.
    The death toll from the outbreak is now 213 in China and the number of confirmed cases of infection has risen to at least 9,700.
    An aircraft that will repatriate Italian citizens stranded in Wuhan is expected on Sunday morning, February 2, multiple sources told ANSA on Friday.
    Under a draft agreement on the repatriation forged with Chinese authorities, the plane would take off with the Italian citizens on board after two hours, according to the sources.
    Another source, however, said plans could still change, "even substantially", based on the experiences of other countries.
    For example, the evacuation of British citizens was postponed due to British Airways' decision to halt its flights to and from China, the source said, stressing that variations could consist in an earlier flight or delayed departure.
    Only citizens without symptoms of the virus will be allowed to leave, according to the source.
    Spouses of Italian nationals who have a Chinese passport could not be allowed to leave, pending China's ravel restrictions to contain viral contagion, according to the sources.
    A bar near the Trevi Fountain has barred Chinese from entering amid rising coronavirus fears.
    A sign in English and Chinese was put up Friday saying "due to international security dispositions, all persons from China are not allowed to enter this place. We apologise for the problem".
    The Palatino Hotel said it had started getting cancellations.
   

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