Coronavirus updates: 5 dead and 200 infected in Italy as Europe braces for COVID-19

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(nbcnews) – Police manned checkpoints around quarantined towns in Italy’s north on Monday as authorities sought to contain the novel coronavirus that has made Italy the focal point of the outbreak in Europe.

Italian health officials recorded fifth coronavirus-caused death Monday, bringing the total number of cases across the country to 219.

Nearly a hundred people have been hospitalized and 23 are in intensive care.

The hardest-hit northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto recorded 167 and 27 cases respectively.

As the number of cases in Italy spiked, the country’s stock exchange recorded massive losses, dropping more than four percent at one point.

At least 10 towns in northern Italy, with a population of around 50,000, were locked down Sunday to help stop the spread of the virus.

The government introduced a number of containment measures Saturday and suspended all public events and gatherings and shut down schools, nurseries, museums and other public offices.

Revellers at the famed Venice Carnival were wearing two types of masks Sunday — a protective face mask over their usual colourful, elaborate ones, as the last two days of the carnival were cancelled.

Meanwhile, Austria suspended train services to Italy for about four hours Sunday before restarting them after two travelers tested negative for coronavirus.

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