March 8, 2020 / 9:22 AM / a month ago

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

FILE PHOTO: Czech Republic's Prime Minister Andrej Babis arrives for the second day of the European Union leaders summit, held to discuss the EU's long-term budget for 2021-2027, in Brussels, Belgium, February 21, 2020. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Italy should ban all its citizens from traveling 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 traveling from Italy or in contact with someone who has been there.

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

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