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Coronavirus: South Korea, Italy and Iran take drastic steps after COVID-19 deaths

  • Coronavirus: South Korea, Italy and Iran take drastic steps after COVID-19 deaths
    Italy: Number of cases in north of the country jumps causing disruption to Milan fashion week and Serie A matches. Coronavirus: South Korea, Italy and Iran take drastic steps after COVID-19 deaths
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South Korea declares highest alert as infections surge.
Special powers enacted in Italy after deaths.
Number of cases in north of the country jumps causing disruption to Milan fashion week and Serie A matches.

South Korea has raised its coronavirus alert to the "highest level" as confirmed case numbers keep rising.

President Moon Jae-in said the country faced "a grave turning point", and the next few days would be crucial in the battle to contain the outbreak.

Five people have died from the virus in South Korea and more than 600 have been infected.

Meanwhile, Italy and Iran have announced steps to try to contain worrying outbreaks of the virus.

In Italy, strict quarantine restrictions are in force in two northern "hotspot" regions close to Milan and Venice.

People cannot enter or leave several towns in Veneto and Lombardy for the next two weeks without special permission. Even outside the zone, many businesses and schools have suspended activities, and sporting events have been cancelled including several top-flight football matches.

Italy has seen two deaths and the number of confirmed cases has risen to more than 100 - 89 of them in Lombardy.

"The contagiousness of this virus is very strong and pretty virulent," said Lombardy's health chief, Giulio Gallera.