World News

Czech PM says Italy should ban all citizens from travelling to Europe

FILE PHOTO: Czech Republic's Prime Minister Andrej Babis attends a news conference during the summit of the Visegrad Group (V4) countries, in Prague, Czech, Republic March 4, 2020. REUTERS/David W Cerny

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Italy should ban all its citizens from travelling to Europe in order to curb the new coronavirus outbreak, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Sunday.

Italy imposed a virtual lockdown across a swathe of its wealthy north earlier on Sunday, including the financial capital Milan, in a drastic new attempt to try to contain a rapidly growing outbreak of coronavirus.

“Italy should ban all its citizens from travelling to Europe, because we are not able to order such a thing within (the European Union’s borderless area) Schengen,” Babis said on Czech Television.

The Czech Republic has reported 26 confirmed cases of the coronavirus infection as of Saturday evening, most involving persons either travelling from Italy or in contact with someone who has been there.

Reporting by Robert Muller; Editing by Louise Heavens and Christopher Cushing