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Italy quarantines millions as coronavirus death toll jumps by 50% in one day

Northern Italy on lockdown over coronavirus
Italy quarantines millions amid surge in coronavirus cases 02:43

Italy is taking unprecedented steps to slow an alarming jump in the spread of the coronavirus. Its northern region, home to around 16 million people or about a quarter of the country's population, has been under a virtual lockdown since Sunday.

The country is the hardest hit outside of Asia with more than 7,300 reported infections, up from about 1,700 a week ago. With the death toll leaping by more than 50% in one day from 233 to 366, the race to save each life has become a military operation, CBS News correspondent Charlie D'Agata reports.

The quarantine includes the financial capital of Milan and Venice, one of Italy's main tourist draws. Areas outside of the lockdown are also taking precautions. 

The country's beloved soccer games are being played behind closed doors without any fans.

At the Vatican, Pope Francis livestreamed his Sunday blessing on wide screens instead of at his papal apartment window to discourage crowds from gathering — though he did make a surprise appearance when it was over.

In a Rome suburb, the faithful celebrated mass outdoors and adhered to the government advice that members of the public should stay three feet away one another.

"We keep a safe distance, so we can pray together," said one parishioner Guido Rocca. "But given the problems nowadays, it is important that we pray together."

Nationwide, museums have largely been closed, and for the first time since the coronavirus crisis began, the Colosseum is being shut down.

Even weddings and funerals have been suspended. The elderly, especially, have been told to stay indoors.

The measures Italy has enacted are the most drastic outside of China, where there have been more than 80,000 cases.

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