Tom Cruise flees Italy over coronavirus
Actor Tom Cruise is fleeing to Britain from an Italian film set as coronavirus panic sweeps Europe.
The action superstar, 57, was evacuated from the new Mission: Impossible 7 movie in Venice - deemed a high-risk area by Italian authorities.
The movie was scheduled to shoot in the city for three weeks, the first location for production.
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A production source told The Sunthe cast and crew were "frightened" as the coronavirus death toll in Italy reached seven.
"There have been meetings with officials but they're clear that, as far as they are concerned, there is a serious risk in the area, especially where large numbers are gathered - and this is a huge set," he said.
"Halting this is extremely expensive but there's no way anybody involved would take the risk of staying put.
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"The withdrawal is under way, starting with some of the big names taking private jets out as quickly as possible.
"Many of the team are doing the same. They don't want to be around anymore. It's a frightening time."
Italy reported its seventh death from the coronavirus on Monday, but officials called for calm and reported a lower rise in the number of infections after a spike over the weekend.
The number of cases in the country now stands at 229, the head of Italy's civil protection department Angelo Borelli said at a press conference - the highest number in Europe.
Several northern towns are in lockdown, while the Venice Carnival was abandoned in a bid to stop the spread.
"Out of an abundance of caution for the safety and wellbeing of our cast and crew, and efforts of the local Venetian government to halt public gatherings in response to the threat of coronavirus, we are altering the production plan for our three-week shoot in Venice," a Paramount spokesman said in a statement to the AFP news agency.
The spokesman added that crew members were allowed to return home until production resumed.
Cruise, who plays agent Ethan Hunt in the movie franchise, arrived in Venice at the weekend. Rebecca Ferguson returns as female lead Ilsa Faust.
- With wires
This story originally appeared on The Sun and was republished with permission.