**PLEASE NOTE: VIDEO CONTAINS IMAGES WHICH SOME MAY FIND DISTRESSING** Italy's prime minister announced on Monday (March 9) that travel restrictions would be imposed across the entire country just a day after locking down much of northern Italy, security measures that were already considered drastic.
(SOUND BITE) (English-dubbed Italian) ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER GIUSEPPE CONTE, SAYING: "There will not be anymore zone one or zone two in the country it will be Italy, Italy a protected zone." The announcement made Italy the first country to restrict movement nationwide, a dramatic new clampdown aimed at halting the rapidly-spreading coronavirus in Europe's worst-affected country.
The unprecedented restrictions - which ban all public gatherings and require people not to travel except for work and emergencies - come after an alarming jump in deaths tied to the highly infectious disease in Italy, with the death toll there reaching 463 - more than a quarter of which were reported in the past 24 hours.
Italy has more than 9,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, putting the national health system under massive strain.
(SOUND BITE) (English) WHO DIRECTOR-GENERAL TEDROS GHEBREYESUS SAYING: "We are encouraged that Italy is taking aggressive measures to contain its epidemic... " In Geneva, the World Health Organization's director said on Monday that the coronavirus is now closer to causing a pandemic.
(SOUND BITE) (English) WHO DIRECTOR-GENERAL TEDROS GHEBREYESUS SAYING: "Now that that the virus has a foothold in so many countries, the threat of a pandemic has become very real.
But it would be the first pandemic in history that could be controlled." In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday also announced more aggressive measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, requiring all citizens who return from abroad to self-quarantine.
(SOUNDBITE) (English-dubbed Hebrew) ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER, BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, SAYING: "After a day of complex discussions, we made a decision: Anyone who arrives in Israel from abroad will enter a 14-day isolation." Israel had already taken some of the most extreme precautions to prevent a local coronavirus outbreak, forcing visitors from many countries in Asia and Europe into isolation.
In the United States, passengers aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship that was barred last week from returning to its home port of San Francisco due to an outbreak of the virus on board waved and cheered as the ship docked at the nearby Port of Oakland on Monday, while tents and workers wearing protective clothing waited for them on shore.
Twenty-one people on the ship, mostly crew, tested positive on Friday (March 6) for coronavirus in an initial round of screenings performed on about 45 people with symptoms. The remaining passengers will be tested and monitored for signs and symptoms of the illness once they reach the next, unexpected phase of their voyage: two weeks at a quarantine station.