Italy has urged people to stop greeting each other by kissing or shaking hands to limit the spread of the new Coronavirus.
Other measures adopted to reduce the spread of the virus include playing all football matches without fans.
Italy has borne brunt in Europe of the new virus now spreading across the world faster than it is in the central Chinese region where is was first detected late last year, the AFP said.
The Mediterranean country’s 79 deaths have made Italy the world’s third-most affected by number of fatalities after China and Iran.
It has more than 2,500 cases in all and the COVID-19 disease caused by the virus appears to be spreading faster and wider by the day.
Italy recorded 13 deaths over the weekend while 18 more deaths were reported on Monday, followed by 27 on Tuesday.
The overwhelming majority of the deaths have occurred in Milan’s Lombardy region and the neighbouring Northern area around the cities of Bologna and Venice.
But 21 of the 22 regions have now had cases, with only the Aosta Valley on the French border so far unscathed.
The government met on Wednesday to plan new and more radical steps aimed at the country’s overall population of 60 million — and not just the North where restrictions have been in place for over a week.
Media reports said people will be advised to stay at least a metre (three feet) apart and to avoid crowded places whenever possible, and notably to avoid the traditional greetings of kissing on the cheeks or shaking hands.
Exhibitions and shows are set to be rescheduled — a measure that will be especially painful for Italy’s already hard-hit hotel and restaurant industry.