• Surge In COVID-19 Cases In Italy Sparks Concern Over Europe Spread

Italian military personnel patrol Milan wearing masks
Italian military personnel patrol Milan wearing masks
[Anchor]

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Italy as well as its death toll.

It has sparked concerns that infections in the country could mean a surge in reported cases in Europe.

Ron Chang has the details.

[Reporter]

As of Thursday, Italy has confirmed a total of 650 novel coronavirus cases, up 250 from a day prior.

Civil protection chief Angelo Borrelli said its death toll rose to 15.

While some cities and countries in other regions have implemented travel restrictions on Italy, borders are not being closed in Europe.

Professor Raina MacIntyre of the University of New South Wales in Sydney says it will be difficult to control the movement of people.

[Clip: MacIntyre: 00:12]
"The European Union doesn't have borders, so it's actually a specific challenge in dealing with this outbreak because unless they change something, they can't stop people moving across borders."

Cases have already been reported in Finland, Norway, France, Austria and Denmark.

MacIntyre said Italy is most likely the source of the infections but also stressed that they could be associated with virus clusters in those countries.

Meanwhile, Nigeria on Friday announced its first confirmed case of the new coronavirus.

The country's health ministry said the case is an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and returned from Milan earlier this week.

It marks the first reported COVID-19 infection in sub-Saharan Africa, raising concerns of a further spread.

The World Health Organization warned earlier this week that African health systems were ill-equipped to respond should cases start to proliferate on the continent.

Ron Chang, eFM News.■

<Photo: Yonhap News>
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