Travellers arriving from Italy will be screened under new measures outlined by Cabinet aimed at keeping the coronavirus out of the country.

The number of coronavirus cases in the European country jumped to 400 on Wednesday. Several people have now died of the virus in Italy, prompting authorities to quarantine dozens of towns, affecting tens of thousands of people.

New cases of the illness, known as Covid-19, have also been reported in China and South Korea while outbreaks in Iran and Italy continue to surge.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office Chief of Staff, Lionel Hurst, the government is also denying boarding “to those Italian citizens emanating from Italian cities that have been quarantined by the Italian government”.

These cities include: Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castiglione d’Adda, Casalpusterlengo, Castelgerund, Somaglia, Codogno, Fombio, Maleo, Vo‘ Euganeo, and San Fiorano.

Hurst said 162 Italian holidaymakers would be returned to Italy this Friday. An empty Blue Panorama Airlines plane is expected to arrive that day. The charter usually lands each week, discharging new passengers and picking up the passengers it brought the week before.

 Hurst also confirmed that a release bearing the country’s coat of arms and displaying the headline – Antigua and Barbuda halts Milan flights for safety concerns following Europe’s largest coronavirus outbreak in Italy – is a hoax and labelled it as “fake”.