ROME, March 9 (CNA) - Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Monday (Mar 9) extended measures to tackle the new coronavirus across the whole country, telling people to "stay at home" and banning public gathering as well as Serie A football matches.

The unprecedented measures covering the entire Mediterranean nation of more than 60 million people came after Italy reported 97 more deaths that took its toll to 463, with confirmed cases at 9,172.

An AFP count showed Italy with more than half of the 862 deaths reported outside China as of Monday night.

"I am going to sign a decree that can be summarised as follows: I stay at home," Conte announced in a dramatic evening television address.

"The whole of Italy will become a protected zone," he said.

All movement across the country is to be avoided unless motivated by three specific circumstances. Reasons of work, reasons of necessity or health reasons.

"It is prohibited to gather in and outside bars open to the public ... We cannot allow ourselves any more these occasions of meeting, which become occasions of contagion. Believe me, it isn't easy, I am completely aware of the seriousness of these measures for the whole country but I am forced to intervene in a more determined manner."

Conte added the measures would come into force on Tuesday.

"The right decision today is to stay at home. Our future and the future of Italy is in our hands. These hands have to be more responsible today than ever before," he said.

The measures extend a quarantine zone that Italy had imposed for its industrial northern heartland around the cities of Milan and Venice on Sunday.

Deaths in Milan's Lombardy region - which had already been on lockdown with cinemas, theatres and museums closed and restaurant hours restricted - jumped 25 per cent in a day to 333.

The national restriction will run until Apr 3 and mean that schools and universities will all immediately close.

Travel in and out of the country as well as movement between cities will be restricted.

But it was not immediately clear how all these measures will be imposed.

Trains and numerous flights continued to operate into and out of Milan on Monday despite the earlier set of restrictions for its Lombardy region.

More than 9,000 people have become infected in Italy in little over two weeks, out of a global total of more than 110,000 in over 100 countries. Some 3,900 people have died across the world, the vast majority in mainland China.

"We don't have any time. The numbers are showing that there has been a significant growth in infections, people in intensive care and deaths," Conte said in a sombre address.

"Our habits have to change right now. We must give things up for Italy."

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus welcomed Italy's tough measures, noting that just four countries - China, South Korea, Italy and Iran - accounted for 93 per cent of cases worldwide.

"Now that the virus has a foothold in so many countries, the threat of a pandemic has become very real."

"It would be the first pandemic that could be controlled," Tedros added. "The bottom line is we are not at the mercy of the virus."