Italy today expanded its COVID-19 lockdown to include the whole country, affecting about 60 million people, as the World Health Organization (WHO) today said the threat of a pandemic from the COVID-19 virus is very real, signaling a tone of increased urgency.

Italy’s announcement marks the first time a whole country has been placed on lockdown and comes on the heels of 1,797 new cases today and quickly rising numbers in other European countries. Over the weekend, Italian officials had announced a lockdown for Lombardy region and 14 provinces in other regions.

WHO carefully weighs pandemic messaging

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