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Italy upholds ban on China flights amid coronavirus fears

07 febbraio 2020 | 13.00
LETTURA: 1 minuti

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Italy's government is keeping a ban on commercial flights to and from China in place amid the accelerating coronavirus epidemic in the Asian country, the health ministry said on Friday in a statement.

"Following a meeting this morning of the coronavirus taskforce chaired by health minister (Roberto) Speranza, it was confirmed that flights between Italy and China will remain on hold as the minister ordered on 31 January," the statement said.

The statement came after Italy's Higher Health Institute (ISS) late on Tuesday confirmed the first Italian had tested positive for the coronavirus. The man was among 56 Italians repatriated on Monday from the Chinese city of Wuhan - the alleged epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic.

The death toll and the number of coronavirus infections continued to soar in China, according to official data released on Friday. At least 636 people have died from the pneumonia-like virus in China - the vast majority in Hubei province surrounding Wuhan. The total number of cases in China has topped 31,160, according to the data.

The virus has now spread to more than 25 countries, but only two of the deaths have been outside mainland China.

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