Italy’s prime minister has said at least 16 million people are now under lock-down in Lombardy region and also in 14 provinces until early April.
The southern European nation is suffering the worst outbreak of the coronavirus outside China with over 5000 infections and 200 deaths.
Weddings and funerals are also suspended under the mandatory quarantine.
Italy’s drastic measures will affect commercial hub, Milan and tourist city Venice.
“We want to guarantee the health of our citizens. We understand that these measures will impose sacrifices, sometimes small and sometimes very big,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said early on Sunday.
“But this is a time where we must take responsibility for ourselves.”
People are unable to enter or leave the whole northern region of Lombardy, home to 10 million people, except for emergency access. Milan is the main city in the region.
The same measures apply to 14 provinces including Venice, Parma and Modena, affecting a total of around 16 million people.