An outbreak of the novel coronavirus has forced Italy to quarantine approximately 16 million people. Last month, government officials of the highly-populated area of Italy's Lombardy region were forced to quarantine approximately 50,000 people after confirmed cases of the virus sky-rocketed from five to more than a hundred in less than three days. The Italian coronavirus outbreak allegedly began in the city of Codogno after a 38-year old man, known as 'patient zero' had been diagnosed with the disease. Now, Italy has become Europe's most contaminated country on the continent with government officials taking extraordinary precautions to stop the spread of the disease. Italy Quarantines 16 Million People Due To Coronavirus Outbreak Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images

According to BBC, the coronavirus has struck the country's Northern and Central provinces resulting in stricter quarantine methods in the region. Under these temporary regulations, citizens in the Lombardy region and the 14 other Central and Northern provinces will need special authorization to travel throughout the country. 

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has taken command closing schools, gyms, museums, nightclubs, sporting events, and other establishments across the country. Highly-populated cities including Milan and Venice are currently under quarantine orders affecting approximately 16 million Italian citizens. Conte released an official statement to the Italian media advising people to stay indoors, stating: 

"There will be no movement in or out of these areas, or within them, unless for proven work-related reasons, emergencies or health reasons," Conte told the public. "We are facing an emergency, a national emergency. We have to limit the spread of the virus and prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed." 

This past Saturday (March 7), a total of 5,833 confirmed cases flood the country with a total of 230 fatalities caused by the virus have been confirmed including a reported 36 deaths in 24 hours. Italy's Chief of Staff for the Italian Army, Salvatore Farina, is among those affected and is currently 'self-isolating.'

The United States is currently taking extra precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in major metropolitan cities like New York and Los Angeles as well. Check out BBC's official report declaring a quarantine of 16 million people in the video provided below.