ROME — Italy’s top two defense companies, Leonardo and Fincantieri, have canceled business trips and switched employees to teleworking where possible, as the country enters four weeks of a lockdown over the spread of the new coronavirus.

Italy has become the worst-hit country outside of Asia, with the death toll from the COVID-19 virus reaching 827 on Wednesday, and 12,462 total cases. Reacting to the rise, the Italian government on Tuesday imposed restrictions on travel across the country and urged Italians to stay at home until April 3.

The quarantine is not absolute, since people are allowed to travel for work, medical reasons and emergencies, but they must prove it if stopped by authorities. Many shops and businesses remain open, while most public transport is running.

Shipbuilder Fincantieri told Defense News it has banned all business travel, with “exceptionally” important travel being evaluated by a crisis management team. Working from home was the order of the day if possible; at shipyards, where hands-on work is required, “shifts will be activated as a preferred alternative to the daily schedule,” the company said, with the aim of reducing the simultaneous presence of too many staff at the same time.

Defense group Leonardo said it too had halted all business travel in and outside Italy, barring highly important missions, while plans for teleworking is being set up.

“Where working from home is not possible due to the nature of the job, to maintain business continuity, employees are coming to sites on a flexible basis and all precautionary measures are being taken to provide a safe working environment,” the firm said.