The entire nation of Italy has been placed on lockdown with all public gatherings cancelled and all schools and universities closed until next month, the nation's prime minister has said, The Independent quoted.
Speaking at a televised press conference Giuseppe Conte said that a new government decree will require all people in Italy to demonstrate a need to work, health conditions or other limited reasons to travel outside the areas where they live.
Meanwhile a crackdown on restaurants and cafes, which had been told to close at dusk in the north of the country, will now be extended nationwide.
Italy has so far confirmed 9,172 cases of the virus and 463 deaths.
"We have adopted a new decision based on an assumption: that there is no time", Mr Conte added.
"The numbers tell us that we are having an significant growth in infections, in the people hospitalised in intensive and sub-intensive care, and, alas, also in deceased people.
"Our habits therefore must be changed. They must be changed now."
It comes after the nation's Olympic committee confirmed all sports, including football, will be suspended until further notice.