Italian PM blames coronavirus epidemic on hospital

Giuseppe Conte says a facility handling virus patients wasn’t properly managed. (AP pic)

ROME: Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has blamed the management of a hospital in northern Italy for one outbreak of the new coronavirus.

“At this point, we know that the way one hospital facility was managed was not entirely appropriate,” Conte told Italian TV on Monday evening.

“That certainly contributed to the spread,” he said, without naming the institution concerned.

The main centre of infection has been the town of Codogno, around 60km south of Milan.

Codogno and several other towns in northern Italy have been put under isolation measures in an attempt to stem the spread of the virus.

Italy has seen a huge jump in cases – from 6 to 229 since Friday – meaning it has the biggest number of confirmed infections in Europe.

However, on Monday the rise in new cases stabilised, with only 10 further infections reported.

Seven people in Italy have so far died after catching the virus, all of whom were either elderly or had pre-existing conditions.