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What's Happening: Italy under lockdown, stocks rebound

Associated Press • Mar 10, 2020 at 9:19 AM

Italy enters its first day under a nationwide lockdown after a government decree extended restrictions on movement from the hard-hit north to the rest of the country. As Italy struggled with rising cases, there were more signs of normality returning to China, where President Xi Jinping’ made his first trip to the virus’ epicenter of Wuhan.

These are some of the latest developments on Tuesday:

ITALY BEGINS LIFE UNDER NATIONWIDE LOCKDOWN

Italy enters its first day under a nationwide lockdown after a decree signed late Monday by Premier Giuseppe Conte extended restrictions on movement from hard-hit northern regions to the rest of the country. Panic buying erupted, prompting the government to assure citizens that supermarkets will remain open and stocked. Conte’s office said runs on supermarkets went counter to the intent of the new decree, which aims to prevent Italians from congregating. The ban on travel is being enforced by soldiers and police.

CHINA’S PRESIDENT VISITS VIRUS EPICENTER

China’s President Xi Jinping’ made his first visit to the coronavirus’ epicenter of Wuhan — his first since the start of the outbreak — as parts of the nation appeared to be returning to normal. It was one of several recent signs of the diminishing threat the illness presents in China as the illness spreads west. In mainland China, where the outbreak emerged in December, almost three-quarters of the more than 80,000 patients who contracted the virus have recovered. Employees have been returning to work, but with new routines that include workers wearing protective face masks and not facing each other while eating.

STOCKS STEADY AFTER PLUNGE

Global stock markets rebounded and oil prices recovered some after a torrid day on Monday. Markets in Europe and Asia were higher ahead of an expected solid opening on Wall Street. Monday’s global selloff reflected alarm over the potential economic pain in the wake of factory closures and strict controls on travel. Israel, for example, has decided to quarantine all visitors the country, while Austria says it will be barring most travelers from Italy from entering the country.

ITALY’S PATIENT NO. 1 GETTING BETTER

Italian doctors celebrated one small victory in their battle against the coronavirus after a 38-year-old man was moved out of intensive care for the first time since he tested positive Feb. 21. He is considered to be the first Italian to have contracted the coronavirus — Patient No. 1. But in the rest of northern Italy, the virus’ spread was growing so exponentially that doctors were having to make the most difficult decisions of who gets priority in care and access to intensive care unit beds. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, and the vast majority of people recover from the new virus. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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