ROME, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Fourteen new cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in the northern Italian region of Lombardy, officials told a televised press conference Friday.
The 14 confirmed cases include six announced on Friday morning: a 38-year-old Italian man from the town of Codogno near Milan, capital of Lombardy, plus five of his close relatives and friends.
The man spent time with a friend who returned from a trip to China on Jan. 21.
"We have identified another eight positive cases, of whom three are patients and five are doctors and nurses at Codogno Hospital," Lombardy regional council member for welfare Giulio Gallera said in the televised press conference.
Health Minister Roberto Speranza announced lockdown measures on 10 towns, including Codogno.
"We need to circumscribe the area because the essential objective we must reach in the coming hours is to keep the virus within a specific geographic area," he said.
For this reason, all public activities and sporting events are being suspended in the 10 towns, where schools, shops and restaurants are to be shut down and people are asked to stay home from work, the health minister said.
"We are asking that everyone who comes from the areas affected by this epidemic stay home on a mandatory basis," Speranza said.