Mar 09, 2020 19:15 Asia/Tehran [Updated: Mar 09, 2020 21:22 Asia/Tehran]

Six inmates have died and several others have climbed onto the roof of a prison following protests across various prisons in Italy over measures to contain the coronavirus.

Iran Press/Europe: The country is the worst hit in Europe following the COVID-19 outbreak, with more than 7,300 confirmed cases and 366 deaths.

Italy's government has locked down much of its wealthy northern regions, and in an emergency decree on Sunday, it imposed limits on direct contact between inmates and their families.

Under the measures, prisoners are only allowed to contact visitors by phone or other remote methods until 22 March.

Meanwhile three inmates died inside a jail in the northern town of Modena.

Justice Ministry sources said two of the deaths were caused by an overdose from drugs found in the jail infirmaries, while the third was found blue in the face, and the cause of the death was still unclear.

It is understood three others died after being transferred away from the facility.

All museums, gyms, cultural centers, ski resorts, and swimming pools will be shut in the targeted areas, according to the decree, which came into force on Sunday.

The 11 provinces affected are those around Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia and Rimini in the region of Emilia-Romagna - Venice, Padua and Treviso in the region of Veneto - Asti and Alessandria in Piedmont - and the province of Pesaro and Urbino in the central region of Marche.

All schools and universities will be closed in Lombardy and the listed provinces until at least April 3. This week, the government announced schools all over the country would be closed until March 15.

The epidemic is already weighing hard on Italy's struggling economy and Rome has pledged to spend €7.5 billion euros ($12.7 billion) to tackle the outbreak and its consequences.

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