Italy bans entry from 13 nations including Brazil over virus

Italy on Thursday banned travelers from Brazil and 12 other countries it considers to pose a high risk of COVID-19 transmission.

A man walks in San Martino square on January 5, 2020 in Seborga, Liguria Region, Northwestern Italy. - The princess showed off her tiny realm, sitting peaceful and picturesque, high above the Italian Riviera. But trouble is afoot in the self-declared micronation of Seborga, where a pretender to the "crown" is stoking passionate opposition. The hilltop village, where the Knights Templar are said by locals to have hidden the Holy Grail, insists that documents dating to the 18th century prove it was never legally incorporated into Italy. (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP)
A man walks in San Martino square on January 5, 2020, in Seborga, Liguria Region, Northwestern Italy. (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP / File photo)

The full list comprises Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Brazil, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Kuwait, North Macedonia, Moldova, Oman, Panama and Peru.

The decree banning visitors from those countries from entering Italy was signed by the health ministry in agreement with the foreign, interior and transport ministries.

"Throughout the world, the pandemic has entered a more acute phase," said Health Minister Roberto Speranza.

"We cannot throw away the sacrifices made by Italians in recent months," he added.

Italy was the first country to be hit by the virus after it emerged in China late last year.

Almost 35,000 people have died of the virus in Italy, according to official figures, from more than 242,000 cases.

The spread of the coronavirus has been slowed with 12 new deaths declared on Thursday, from 15 the previous day.

Brazil has suffered the highest number of COVID-19 fatalities apart from the United States, with nearly 68,000 dead, according to an AFP count.