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Published on Monday, February 24, 2020

Venice Carnival closes early as Italy tries to contain spread of coronavirus

The Venice Carnival has closed early and 11 towns in Italy are in lockdown in a bid to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

The city's famous carnival was due to finish on Tuesday but was closed on Sunday.

Italy became the first European country to announce a death from coronavirus on Friday. Since then, the death toll from the virus in Italy has risen to seven.

Authorities in affected regions have cancelled all sporting events and closed schools until March 1 in an attempt to contain the virus which has now infected more than 150 people.

Neighbouring Austria is considering introducing border controls to stop the spread.

On Sunday evening, Austria refused entry to a train travelling from Venice to Munich after Italian State Railways informed Austrian train operator OBB there were two people with fever symptoms on board.

The UK Foreign Office said the Italian Government has introduced 'extraordinary measures that allow regions to implement civil protection measures in response to Coronavirus'.

"This includes the isolation of 10 small towns in Lombardy and 1 in Veneto," it said.

"The regions of Lombardy, Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Piemonte and Emilia Romagna have implemented measures including the suspension of public or private events, the suspension of schools and higher education and the suspension on the opening of museums and cultural institutions for seven days."

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