Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible 7 halts filming over coronavirus

EXCLUSIVE: Tom Cruise is holed up at the 5-star Gritti Palace in Venice after Mission: Impossible 7 is forced to halt filming after outbreak of coronavirus in Italy

  • Tom Cruise has been forced to hole up in a luxury hotel in Venice after the filming of Mission: Impossible 7 was halted after an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy, has learned 
  • Cruise, who arrived in Venice on February 20, is now stuck at the luxurious Hotel Gritti Palace until March 1, awaiting a decision on the future of the project 
  • Production was put in limbo after region authorities banned all large gatherings in order to stop further spread of the disease
  • The movie is set for a summer 2021 release date, but the halt on filming could delay the release
  • The halt on filming comes as Italy confirmed its sixth virus death in Europe’s first major outbreak
  • Italy has confirmed 219 cases of the virus, by far the largest number outside China, Japan and South Korea 
  • Lombardy and Veneto have locked down towns and banned public events with schools shut to stop the virus  

Tom Cruise has been forced to hole up in a luxury hotel in Venice after the filming of Mission: Impossible 7 was halted after an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy, has learned.

The actor had been due to begin filming in some of the most picturesque and popular parts of the floating city but production was put in limbo after authorities put a total lockdown in place in order to stop further spread of the deadly disease.

The Hollywood star was set to take a gondola through the city’s ancient canals and stage scenes in various medieval squares that are also popular tourist sights. 

Cruise, who arrived in Venice on February 20, is now stuck at the luxurious Hotel Gritti Palace until March 1, awaiting a decision on the future of the project. Initial reports indicate that no one in the cast and crew have been infected.

The halt on filming comes as Italy confirmed its sixth death in Europe’s first major outbreak, as the country has 219 cases of the virus – by far the largest number outside China, Japan and South Korea.  

Tom Cruise has been forced to hole up in a luxury hotel in Venice after the filming of Mission: Impossible 7 was halted after an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy, has learned. Pictured: Cruise filming a Mission: Impossible film in 2018 

Cruise, who arrived in Venice on February 20, is now stuck at the luxurious Hotel Gritti Palace (pictured) until March 1, awaiting a decision on the future of the project. Initial reports indicate that no one in the cast and crew have been infected

Cruise was set to take a gondola through the city’s ancient canals and stage scenes in various medieval squares that are also popular tourist sights. Pictured: The terrace at the 5-star hotel Cruise is forced to stay at

The halt on filming comes as Italy confirmed its sixth death in Europe’s first major outbreak, as the country has 219 cases of the virus, by far the largest number outside China, Japan and South Korea. Pictured: Tourists in face masks walk across St Mark’s Square in Venice on Monday, with the city’s carnival derailed by the outbreak 

Italy has confirmed deaths (their locations are shown on a map above) within the region of Lombardy (marked in red) the worst-affected area of the country 

Mission: Impossible 7, which will be directed by Christopher McQuarrie, is set for a summer 2021 release, but the halt on filming could delay the release. 

Luca Zaia, President of the Veneto Region, ordered the closure of all schools and museums and canceled all cultural, sports, and public events, including bringing the world-renowned Venice carnival to a premature end. 

On Monday, an Italian passenger jet was held in Mauritius due to concern of the spread of the disease, with dozens of passengers from Lombardy and Veneto – the two worst-affected regions of Italy – told to return home or face quarantine in the Indian Ocean country, airline Alitalia said. 

Forty of the 224 people on board eventually chose to return home to northern Italy where 50,000 people have been placed under lock down in a drastic bid to contain the virus. 

It is not yet clear whether any other passengers or crew were kept in quarantine in Mauritius, after initial reports said around another 30 people from the affected regions had been on the plane. 

Three more deaths were confirmed in Lombardy on Monday after an 84-year-old patient in Bergamo, an 88-year-old man from Caselle Landi and a woman at a Brescia hospital died from the virus, bringing Italy’s death toll to six. 

The outbreak has sparked fears that tourists returning from Italy could send the epidemic spiraling across Europe, with many Britons back at school and work after the half-term break today.

One British Airways flight to Milan was delayed this morning after a passenger left the plane shortly before take-off at Heathrow, allegedly because they feared they would catch the virus. 

BA said it was ‘reviewing the situation’ today but the UK government insisted that ‘the threat to the British public is currently low’.  

An Italian soldier with a gun stands guard today outside the Duomo cathedral in Milan, which has been shut to tourists over coronavirus fears – as Italy confirmed its sixth death from the virus today 

A map showing the latest numbers of coronavirus cases around the world. Cases have surged in South Korea in recent days

Italian armed personnel talk to drivers near the small town of Casalpusterlengo where one of the virus patients died 

Empty shelves at Esselunga supermarket in Milan today as people stockpile due to the fear of the new coronavirus

These three people were wearing protective suits on the Milan metro today (left), although it was unclear whether they were wearing the outfits as a joke. Pictured right: Tourists wearing masks look at a map of Florence

Passengers arriving at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport walk through the terminal with face masks today 

Empty seats on board a rush-hour train in Milan today as authorities battle to contain the first major outbreak in Europe 

There is also no change in Foreign Office advice for British tourists to ‘follow the instructions of local authorities’, while Ireland has gone further and advised against travel to the virus hotspots.  

One man who returned to the UK from Codogno – one of the towns in lockdown – said he called the NHS today but was told to ‘continue as usual’. 

Diego Gullo has placed himself in a voluntary quarantine and voiced doubts about the UK’s response after the NHS suggested his wife and children should go to a walk-in centre.  

France has dismissed calls to close its border with Italy, although passengers on a bus from Milan were held in Lyon today after the driver was taken to hospital with possible virus symptoms. 

Italy has confirmed 219 cases of the virus, by far the largest number outside China, Japan and South Korea.   

Authorities in Lombardy and Veneto have locked down 11 towns and banned public events including Masses, while Milan’s famous cathedral has been closed to visitors and bars and restaurants have been ordered to close.  

In Mauritius, the 224 passengers and crew on an Alitalia flight from Rome were held up at the airport after arriving in the Indian Ocean country today. 

Around 70 people from Lombardy and Veneto were told they would have to go into quarantine if they stayed in Mauritius, Italian media said. 

The stand-off ended when 40 people from the two northern regions decided to return home to Italy, the airline said in a statement. 

A flight was being organised back to Italy ‘although nobody declared symptoms of illness’, the Alitalia statement said. 

The people on board the plane were allowed to disembark the aircraft over more than an hour after their landing and faced rigorous screening, Mauritian media reported. 

Back in Italy, armed personnel were today guarding the closed Duomo cathedral in Milan and stopping drivers at roadblocks in Lombardy, including near the town of Casalpusterlengo where one of the virus victims died. 

ITALY: A policeman wearing a sanitary masks gestures next to a reveller in Venice as authorities called off the annual carnival

Russian police raid homes and businesses in search of Chinese people 

Moscow has ordered police to raid hotels, dorms, apartment buildings and businesses in search of Chinese people as Russia attempts to stem the spread of coronavirus.

Officials also authorized the use of facial recognition technology to find those suspected of evading a 14-day self-quarantine period upon their arrival in Russia. 

‘Conducting raids is an unpleasant task, but it is necessary, for the potential carriers of the virus as well,’ Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said in a statement. 

Metro workers have been instructed to stop passengers from China and ask them to fill out questionnaires asking why they were in Russia, reports say. 

The forms also ask passengers whether they observed a two-week quarantine, where they are staying and what their current health condition is. 

An email that leaked over the weekend suggested that police would also be alerted to Chinese nationals on public transport, though authorities claimed it was a fake. 

Human rights advocates have condemned the targeting of Chinese nationals as racial profiling, not an effective epidemic control strategy.   

Russia has reported two cases. Both patients, Chinese nationals hospitalized in Siberia, recovered quickly. 

Weeks before, Russia shut down the country’s long land border with China, suspended all trains and most flights between the two countries. 

Supermarket shelves and train carriages were empty this morning as panic-buying Italians prepared to stay at home to fend off the virus. 

The wealthy Lombardy region which includes Milan is the worst-affected area, while 25 people have been infected in neighbouring Veneto which includes Venice – where health workers were disinfecting the city today.  

In Venice, health workers were today spraying streets, swimming pools, plazas, pavements and bridges in what the local council describes as ‘exceptional measures’. 

The cleaning is expected to take in gondolas and other forms of public transport.

One by one, ferry services to the lagoon city are also being cancelled, following the closure of museums and schools with immediate effect. City leaders say they will be announcing more measures later today.  

As the panic spread last night, Austria halted trains from crossing the Alps into Italy after two German women reported a fever on board, although they later tested negative. 

The outbreak has also forced the stoppage of high-profile events including the Venice Carnival, Milan Fashion Week and Serie A football fixtures.    

One of the new deaths announced today was an 84-year-old man who died in a Bergamo hospital after being admitted for a different illness but then discovering he had the virus. 

The other was an 88-year-old man from Caselle Landi, in Lombardy. It was not immediately clear whether he had any previous health problems.  

Lombardy, the worst-hit region of Italy, announced 53 new cases of coronavirus overnight, bringing the total there to 165 in just four days. 

Some 25 people had the virus in Veneto, while a handful of infections were also recorded in the adjacent regions of Piedmont and Emilia Romagna. 

The three other people who have died of the illness were also elderly and at least two of them had serious underlying health problems. 

‘To be honest, nobody thought the spread would be so aggressive. The illness is not serious, but it must not be underestimated,’ Attilio Fontana, the regional governor of Lombardy, told RTL radio. 

Authorities across the north have shut schools, universities, museums and cinemas for at least a week in the most drastic quarantine measures that any country has taken outside Asia. 

Italian shares fell 4.2 per cent on Monday morning, with businesses, with Banco BPM which has its roots in Lombardy plunging nearly seven per cent. 

Analysts say the outbreak could shunt Italy’s fragile economy into its fourth recession in 12 years, with government bonds also taking a swift hit.  

Italy became the first European country to report one of its nationals died from the virus on Friday.

Two more fatalities came over the weekend but Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte urged people ‘not to give in to panic’, and asked them to follow the advice of health authorities.    

Conte has said that residents in 11 quarantined towns could face weeks of lockdown in an effort to sit out the virus.   

Tourists wearing protective facemasks visit St Mark’s Square in Venice today, in northern Italy which is heavily affected

A largely deserted Milano Cadorna railway station is seen during morning rush-hour today as virus fears grip the country

A medical worker adjusts their protective mask in the back of an ambulance in Brescia today amid a spiralling virus outbreak

A sparse Milan Central station today with many people in northern Italy quarantined in their towns to contain the outbreak

Health workers put up a tent at the Giovanni Bosco Hospital in Turin yesterday as Italy battles to contain the outbreak

London resident Diego Gullo (pictured) said he had not been advised to take any particular precautions after returning from one of the areas at the centre of Italy’s coronavirus outbreak 

Schools have been closed as a precaution in Lombardy, Veneto, Piedmont, Emilia Romagna and Friuli Venezia Giulia. 

Piedmont shares a border with France, but French authorities have said there is no need to close borders in response to the spread of virus in Italy. 

Slovenia, which also borders Italy, has asked vacationers returning from ski resorts in northern Italy to be particularly vigilant for symptoms. 

Meanwhile, Israel has added travellers from Italy to a list of people who may need to go into quarantine if they arrive in Israel with possible virus symptoms.  

Last night Austria held up a train carrying around 300 people in the Brenner Pass, which crosses the Alps from Austria to Italy. 

The train was halted amid panic over two German women who had flu-like symptoms, but was later given the all-clear after they tested negative.      

Meanwhile, a virus expert from the World Health Organization said the coronavirus could be the ‘Disease X’ which experts have warned about.

The name is given to a future disease which could break out among humans and wreak havoc across the world.

‘Dr Marion Koopmans, a virologist for the WHO, said: ‘Whether it will be contained or not, this outbreak is rapidly becoming the first true pandemic challenge that fits the disease X category.’  

After Italy recorded its first death on Friday, the director general of the World Health Organisation Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus spoke of a narrowing ‘window of opportunity.’ 

Sharp rises in Italy, Iran and South Korea have brought this window into stark focus as the global infection toll soared to 79,565 today, including more than 2,600 deaths.    

SOUTH KOREA: Workers wearing protective gear spray disinfectant at a market in the southeastern city of Daegu. South Korea reported two additional deaths from coronavirus and 123 more cases on February 23, with nearly two thirds of the new patients connected to a religious sect. The national toll of 763 cases is now the second-highest outside of China, with seven dead

JAPAN: Sumo wrestlers wearing face masks are seen on arrival at Shin Osaka Station ahead of the Grand Sumo Spring Tournament on Sunday

China BANS eating wild animals amid fears the practice sparked coronavirus outbreak 

China has today declared a ban on eating wild animals, a practice believed to be responsible for the outbreak. 

The immediate and ‘comprehensive’ ban was approved by the country’s top legislative committee today.  

The ban is aimed at ‘prohibiting the illegal wildlife trade, abolishing the bad habit of overconsumption of wildlife, and effectively protecting the lives and health of the people,’ state television said.

Previous temporary bans have been put in place, including after the SARS virus killed hundreds of people in China and Hong Kong in 2002-03 and was also traced to wild animal consumption.

However, that ban was short-lived and conservationists have long accused China of allowing a cruel trade in wild animals as exotic menu items or for use in dubious medicines.

Today’s decision was made by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), which oversees the country’s rubber-stamp legislature.

Chinese health officials have said the virus likely emerged from a market in the central city of Wuhan that sold wild animals as food.

The coronavirus has killed 2,592 people in China, infected some 77,000 others and paralysed the country’s economy. 

Most of the cases in Italy can be traced back to a 38-year-old man in the town of Codogno whom authorities have called ‘patient one’.

Investigators are reconstructing minute by minute the man’s movements over the past few weeks – where he slept, ate, walked – in a bid to trace everyone he could have come into contact with.

‘We had the most unfortunate situation possible; the outbreak of an epidemic in a hospital,’ infectious disease expert Massimo Galli told the Corriere della Sera daily.

‘Unfortunately, in these cases, a hospital can turn into a frightening amplifier of contagion,’ he said.. 

The 38-year old had not travelled to China and doctors failed to treat him with the necessary precautions.

The man initially believed to have given him the virus after returning from Shanghai later tested negative. ‘We still do not know who brought the coronavirus to Codogno,’ Galli said.    

Elsewhere, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Bahrain have today confirmed their first virus cases, with all three countries saying their first patients had recently returned from Iran.   

On Saturday night, four Britons evacuated from the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess tested positive for the illness after 32 passengers from the cruise liner held in Japan arrived for quarantine at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral.

Two of the patients are in the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield, one is in the Royal Liverpool University Hospital and a fourth was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. 

While the European Union urged there was ‘no need to panic’, health experts warned that in the last 24 hours the world has been brought to the brink.

Paul Hunter, professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia, said: ‘The director general of the WHO has recently spoken of a narrowing of the window of opportunity to control the current epidemic. 

‘The tipping point after which our ability to prevent a global pandemic ends seems a lot closer after the past 24 hours.’

He noted that despite numbers declining in China, where the outbreak began in December, the weekend’s developments were ‘extremely concerning.’   

Dr Robin Thompson, junior research fellow in mathematical epidemiology at the University of Oxford, told The Guardian: ‘This is an important stage of the coronavirus outbreak …  Fast isolation of even mild cases in affected areas is important for preventing substantial person-to-person transmission in Europe.

‘It is critical that public health guidelines are followed.’  

An ambulance and police are seen as coaches containing British Diamond Princess evacuees arrive at Arrowe Park Hospital on Saturday night. four Britons evacuated from the coronavirus-stricken vessel tested positive for the illness after 32 passengers from the ship held in Japan arrived in quarantine at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral.

A view of the stopped train at the Brenner railway station at the border between Tyrol, Austria, and South Tyrol, Italy, seen from the Austrian side on Sunday night

Fifty people are ‘killed by virus in Iranian city’, lawmaker says 

Fifty people have died of coronavirus in the Iranian city of Qom, a lawmaker has said – despite official regime figures showing only 12 deaths in all of Iran. 

Ahmad Amiriabadi Farahani told a session of Parliament in Tehran that 50 people had died in Qom in the last 11 days. 

‘I think the performance of the administration in controlling the virus has not been successful,’ he said. 

‘None of the nurses have access to proper protective gears,’ Farahani said, adding that some health care specialists had left the city. 

‘So far, I have not seen any particular action to confront corona by the administration.’  

Health ministry spokesman Iraj Harirchi rejected the Qom lawmaker’s claims, insisting the death toll from the virus remains at 12.

However, he raised the number of confirmed cases from the virus to 61. Some 900 other suspected cases are being tested, he said.

‘No one is qualified to discuss this sort of news at all,’ Haririchi said, adding that lawmakers have no access to coronavirus statistics.  

South Korea today reported another surge in cases, with another 161 patients diagnosed – most of them linked to the secretive religious sect at the centre of the outbreak – bringing the total to 763 of whom seven have died. 

The country has also postponed the start of the new football season, with all K-League fixtures pushed back after officials said the outbreak had ‘entered a serious phase’.     

Of South Korea’s 161 new cases, 129 were related to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a secretive sect based in Daegu which is widely regarded as a cult. 

Officials are also investigating a possible link between churchgoers and a spike in infections at a hospital in nearby Cheongdo.

Five of South Korea’s seven virus deaths have been linked to the hospital in Cheongdo, where a slew of infections were confirmed among patients in a mental ward. 

Officials have voiced hope that they they can contain the outbreak in Daegu, but there are also signs of the virus spreading across the country, including a number of cases in the capital Seoul.  

Health minister Kim Gang-lip said that health officials plan to test all of Daegu’s residents exhibiting cold-like symptoms, which he said would be about 28,000 people. 

‘In Daegu, the number of new cases that are being confirmed by tests is quite large, and if we fail to effectively stem community transmissions in this area, there would be a large possibility [that it] spreads nationwide,’ he said.

The national government has shuttered schools, cancelled events, and asked companies to scatter working hours and keep employees at home if they experience coughs or other respiratory symptoms.  

Seoul’s mayor Park Won-soon has also scattered the working hours of some 40,000 city employees to ease transit congestion and warned of sterner action against protesters who defied a ban on rallies.   

A police officer wearing a protective face mask stands next to a masked carnival reveller at Venice Carnival, with the last two days, as well as Sunday night’s festivities, cancelled because of coronavirus. As Italy recorded three deaths, the director general of the World Health Organisation Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus spoke of a narrowing ‘window of opportunity.’

Sumo wrestlers wearing face masks are seen on arrival at Shin Osaka Station ahead of the Grand Sumo Spring Tournament on Sunday

Sumo wrestlers wearing face masks arrive at the JR Shin-Osaka train station on Sunday night

Iran’s confirmed death toll yesterday rose to eight, prompting travel bans from neighbouring countries. 

Bahrain and Kuwait both revealed their first cases of the virus today, with both countries saying that the patients had recently entered from Iran.  

Along with Italy, Iran has begun introducing the sort of containment measures previously seen only in China, which has put tens of millions of people under lockdown in Hubei province, the outbreak’s epicentre. 

On Sunday, China’s President Xi Jinping called the epidemic the ‘largest public health emergency’ in the country’s history.  

‘This is a crisis for us and it is a big test,’ Xi said during remarks carried by state television.

In a rare admission, at a meeting to coordinate the fight against the virus, Xi added that China must learn from ‘obvious shortcomings exposed’ during its response.

The WHO has praised Beijing for its handling of the epidemic, but China has been criticised at home for silencing early warnings from a whistleblower doctor who later died from the virus. 

The second patient to die was an elderly woman whose death has triggered the closing down of shops, offices and community centres in Casalpusterlengo, according to Italian news agency Ansa. Pictured are medical workers outside a hospital in Padua

The first Italian to die was retired bricklayer Adriano Trevisan, 78, (pictured left) who died in hospital in Padua on Friday evening. Pictured right: health workers wearing  protective face masks in front of a school in Padua 

The last two days of the carnival in Venice, as well as Sunday night’s festivities, have been cancelled because of an outbreak of coronavirus. Pictured: Attendee wearing a facemask

Tourists wear protective face masks in a gondola, because of an outbreak of coronavirus, in Venice

Carnival revellers wear protective face masks at Venice Carnival, which the last two days of, as well as Sunday night’s festivities, have been cancelled

‘The rapid increase in reported cases in Italy over the past two days is of concern,’ World Health Organization spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic said.

Not all reported cases seem to have clear epidemiological links, such as travel history to China or contact with a confirmed case, Jasarevic added.

‘At this stage, we need to focus on limiting further human to human transmission.’

Iran ordered the closure of schools, universities and cultural centres across 14 provinces following eight deaths – the most outside East Asia.

The outbreak in the Islamic Republic surfaced Wednesday and quickly grew to 43 confirmed infections, a sudden rise that prompted regional travel restrictions.

Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pachinian said his country will close its border with Iran and suspend flights.

East Anglia Prof. Hunter said the situation in Iran has ‘major implications’ for the Middle East.

‘It is unlikely that Iran will have the resources and facilities to adequately identify cases and adequately manage them if case numbers are large,’ Prof. Hunter said.

Pakistan and Turkey announced the closure of land crossings with Iran while Afghanistan said it was suspending travel to the country. 

The outbreak in China remains concentrated in the city of Wuhan – locked down one month ago – where the virus is believed to have emanated from a live animal market in December.

China’s infection rate has slowed, but flip-flopping over counting methods has sown confusion over its data.

There also was growing concern over the difficulty of detecting the virus.  

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