Italy has ushered in emergency legislation ordering the closure of all museums, cinemas and theatres, in a bid to contain the Coronavirus outbreak.

The unprecedented move is part of a decree that puts 16 million people in quarantine in northern regions of Italy, locking down the entire Lombardy region and big cities and towns including Milan, Venice and Parma.
The measure, which takes immediate effect and will remain in place until at least 3 April, also means the cancellation of all concerts and public and private events.
In addition it will see the closure of all archaeological sites, archives and libraries throughout Italy. The decree comes as the country grapples with the COVID-19 which so far has recorded more than 5,000 infections and 233 deaths.

In recent days the Italian government issued a set of nationwide guidelines to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus, which are in place for at least a month.

The guidelines include avoiding greeting people with handshakes, hugs or kisses; avoiding crowded places; and using a handkerchief when coughing or sneezing.