People wear masks as they walk in Milan, Italy, on Feb. 24, 2020. Six people have died and 222 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) nationwide in Italy, Angelo Borrelli, chief of Civil Protection Department and Extraordinary Commissioner for the Coronavirus Emergency, told a press conference at 6 p.m. local time on Monday. (Photo: Xinhua)
The number of coronavirus-related fatalities in Italy rose to seven as regional authorities in the northern Lombardy region announced another death on Monday evening.
Authorities described the deceased as "a man aged 62, who already had significant impairment at the cardiac and kidney level."
Ten towns in Lombardy have been on lockdown in what authorities call a "red zone" where the first coronavirus case was identified on Feb. 21.
Six deaths and over 170 cases of infection have since occurred in the region, while one death occurred in Veneto region whose capital is Venice.
Also on Monday evening, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told TV reporters that "we can reasonably expect a positive impact from the containment measures" taken by the government to isolate the areas where the coronavirus has been detected.
"We can't forecast the way the virus will progress. Clearly there has been a hotbed and it spread from there," he said.
"The economic impact could turn out to be highly significant - at this time we can calculate that there will be a negative impact," the prime minister added.
Conte said that Minister of Economy and Finance Roberto Gualtieri has decreed the suspension of tax and mortgage payments for red zone residents and businesses.