Rome (CNN)Italian authorities have announced sweeping closures in the country’s north as they scramble to contain Europe’s biggest outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
Italy’s confirmed cases surged from three on Friday morning to more than 200 by Monday.
The majority of coronavirus infections are concentrated in mainland China (with more than 77,100 cases), followed by Japan (840) and South Korea (833). Italy’s spike now marks the biggest outbreak outside of Asia.
Five people have died and at least 219 others have been infected with the virus in Italy, Angelo Borrelli, head of the country’s Civil Protection agency, said at a Monday news conference.
The bulk of the cases (167) are in the northern region of Lombardy, whose capital is the city of Milan.
Borrelli added that one person had recovered and that 91 people with the virus were currently in isolation at home.
Officials have yet to track down the first carrier of the virus in the country. “We still cannot identify patient zero, so it’s difficult to forecast possible new cases,” Borrelli said at an earlier press conference.
Strict emergency measures were put in place over the weekend, including a ban on public events in at least 10 municipalities, after a spike in confirmed cases in the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto.
Italy’s Health Minister Roberto Speranza announced severe restrictions in the affected regions, which included the closure of public buildings, limited transport, and the surveillance and quarantine of individuals who may have been exposed to the virus.
“We are asking basically that everyone who has come from areas stricken by the epidemic to remain under a mandatory house stay,” Speranza said at a Saturday press conference.
Nearby countries within the borderless Schengen Area that covers most of western Europe have gotten jittery over the spike in Italy’s numbers.
A train from Italy was stopped at the Austrian border on Sunday evening when two German women on board reported fever symptoms, public broadcaster ORF said. The train was let through after the women tested negative for the virus.
Austrian authorities said they would meet on Monday to study the situation and analyze if border controls with Italy were necessary.
Italy’s top soccer league, Serie A, canceled at least four matches scheduled to be played in Lombardy and Veneto regions.
Atalanta versus Sassuolo, Hellas Verona versus Cagliari, Torino versus Parma, and Inter Milan versus Sampdoria were suspended, according to Serie A’s website on Sunday.