ROME - Italian officials are scrambling to contain an outbreak of coronavirus, or COVID-19, after separate cases were confirmed Tuesday in Tuscany and Sicily, which is hundreds of kilometers away from the north of the country, where nearly a dozen towns are on lockdown following 10 virus-related deaths.
The lack of a clear source of the outbreak in the affluent northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto is raising the alarm of Italy’s public health officials, who have been hunting for “Patient Zero,” the first person in the country to be infected with the virus.
The surge of 283 positive cases in parts of northern Italy in recent days is prompting anxiety in neighboring countries with officials saying coronavirus is “knocking at the door.”
Austria is considering stopping all rail traffic from Italy and imposing other controls on its border with its southern neighbor. Two Italian emigres who live in the Austrian region of Tyrol, and who recently returned from a trip to northern Italy, tested positive for the virus, according to a local health authority spokeswoman.
Croatia's prime minister confirmed the country's first COVID-19 case Tuesday. Hundreds of tourists at a hotel in the Spanish resort of Tenerife are reportedly being tested after another vacationer, an Italian from Lombardy, tested positive.
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