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Church services cancelled in Italy as 2 die from Coronavirus

by Heather Preston

Church services have been cancelled in around a dozen towns in Northern Italy following an outbreak of coronavirus which has seen two people die in the space of 24 hours.

Adriano Trevisan, 78, died in hospital in the northern region of Veneto after being admitted alongside another person who tested positive for the infection.

A second patient - an elderly woman - died hours later in the nearby region of Lombardy on Saturday.

Italian authorities said the number of people infected with the virus has more than quadrupled due to an emerging cluster of cases in the country's north.

79 people have now been diagnosed with the Covid-19 strain.

In an attempt to contain the disease, officials have asked more than 50,000 residents there not to go out as around a dozen towns are essentially out in lockdown.

Church services have been banned for the time being while three top-flight football matches have been called off.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced: "In the areas identified as decease outbreaks, entry and exit is not allowed unless specific expectations are permitted and assessed on a case by case basis."

The novel coronavirus COVID-19, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan has now affected 33 countries and territories around the world.

At the time of writing the death toll in mainland China from the coronavirus strain has risen to 2,443, with the total number of cases globally at 78,823.

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