The Italian authorities have confirmed 112 cases throughout Italy, in Lombardy (89), Veneto (25) and for the first time in Venice with two cases.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte recognized the seriousness of the situation and passed a legal decree for the containment of epidemics that will restrict entry and exit in the affected areas.
Hundreds of residents and workers who had come into contact with people who tested positive were put into isolation pending results of their tests. Civil protection crews set up a tent camp outside a closed hospital in Veneto to screen medical staff.
Luca Zaia, the Veneto regional president, said on Saturday that the contagion showed that the virus is transmitted like any flu, and that trying to pinpoint a single source for the cases or to establish a link to China were no longer effective containment measures.
“You can get it from anyone,” he told reporters. “We can expect to have cases of patients who had no contact [with suspected carriers].” He added that while the virus isn’t particularly lethal, it can be deadly for the elderly or people with existing conditions.