Italy bans entry from 13 countries due to coronavirus fears

FILE PHOTO: Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza speaks to reporters after European health ministers from neighbouring countries to Italy held a meeting to discuss Italy's coronavirus outbreak, in Rome, Italy, February 25, 2020. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The list compiled by the health ministry comprises Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chile, Kuwait, North Macedonia, Moldova, Oman, Panama, Peru and Dominican Republic.

The ban affects anyone who has stayed in or travelled through these countries in the last 14 days, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said in a statement.

Travellers from all other countries outside the European Union and the Schengen free movement area can come to Italy but must observe 14 days of quarantine on arrival.

“Around the world the pandemic is in its most acute phase. We cannot waste the sacrifices the Italians have made in recent months,” Speranza said.

Italy was the first European country to be hit hard by the coronavirus after its outbreak first emerged on Feb. 21. 

It has recorded almost 35,000 deaths but the daily tally of fatalities and new infections have dwindled to a fraction of those seen at the peak of its epidemic in late March.

On Thursday the Civil Protection Agency reported 12 deaths over the last 24 hours, down from 15 the previous day, while new cases increased to 229 from 193.