People wear protective face masks as they walk in St. Mark's Square after the last days of Venice Carnival were cancelled due to coronavirus, in Venice, Italy. Image Credit: Reuters

MILAN: Italian authorities announced Sunday that the number of people infected with the new coronavirus in Italy has risen 40% to 1,576 in 24 hours, while another five people have died.

That brings the number of people infected with the virus in Italy to 34 since cases of the virus exploded Feb. 21.

Health authorities say the increase is expected, since it takes as much as two weeks for the containment measures to take effect, and because Italy has a large number of elderly people.

Avoid 2 Italian regions: US travellers urged

A new US government advisory on Sunday urged Americans not to travel to two Italian regions hardest hit by a new virus, raising the level of warning for the Lombard and Veneto regions to the highest level.

The advisory cited quarantines set up in 10 Lombard towns and one in Veneto, with a combined population of 50,000 people, as well as the "the level of community transmission of the virus."