People wear masks to help guard against the Coronavirus as they ride an escalator at a the metro station, in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. Iran's health ministry raised Sunday the death toll from the new virus to 8 people in the country, amid concerns that clusters there, as well as in Italy and South Korea, could signal a serious new stage in its global spread.
People wear masks to help guard against the Coronavirus as they ride an escalator at a the metro station, in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. Iran's health ministry raised Sunday the death toll from the new virus to 8 people in the country, amid concerns that clusters there, as well as in Italy and South Korea, could signal a serious new stage in its global spread.
AP/PTI

Italy’s new coronavirus spread south on Tuesday to Tuscany and Sicily, as the civil protection agency reported a surge in the number of infected people and Rome convened emergency talks.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has blamed poor management in a hospital in the country’s north for the outbreak, which has caused seven deaths in Italy so far and infected the largest number of people in Europe.

Tuscany reported its first two cases, including one in the tourist destination of Florence, while Sicily marked one: a tourist from the worst-hit Lombardy region, where 212 people have tested positive.

The female tourist in Sicily, who had been staying in a hotel in Palermo, tested positive on the first swab but was awaiting the definitive result from Italy's institute of infectious diseases, civil protection agency chief Angelo Borrelli said.

While no neighbouring country has closed its borders with Italy, several governments have announced additional measures for travellers arriving from Italy, in particular from the two northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto.

The main centre of infection in Italy has been the town of Codogno, a town of some 15,000 people around 60 kilometres (35 miles) to the south of Milan.

The 38-year-old man dubbed “Patient One” by Italian media was admitted to hospital last Wednesday in Codogno, and it is thought a large number of the cases in the worst-hit region of Lombardy can be traced back to him.

His heavily pregnant wife, several doctors, staff and patients at the hospital are thought to have caught the virus from him.

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