- Italy has overtaken China as the country with the most coronavirus-related deaths.
- The nation’s outbreak has killed 3,405 people and infected 41,035 others as of Thursday. China, where the COVID-19 virus originated, has confirmed 3,249 deaths.
- The announcement came on the heels of more bad news: Italy on Wednesday recorded the highest single-day death toll of any country since the coronavirus outbreak began (475 deaths).
- Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the nationwide lockdown, which was intended to last until April 3, will be prolonged.
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Italy’s coronavirus outbreak hit a tragic milestone Thursday: The nation overtook China as the country with most coronavirus-related deaths.
Local newspaper Corriere della Sera reported that Italy’s death toll has reached 3,405 – an uptick of 427 deaths from a day prior – while its caseload has surged to 41,035. This is a faster growth rate than the country has seen in the last three days, its Civil Protection Agency said.
The COVID-19 virus, which originated in Wuhan late last year, has killed 3,249 Chinese citizens, according to data compiled by John Hopkins University. On March 18, China did not report any local COVID-19 cases for the first time since the outbreak began.
On Wednesday, Italy recorded the highest single-day death toll of any country: 475 deaths.
Even at the height of China’s outbreak, its highest single-day death toll was 150, on February 23. Spain recorded 209 deaths on Thursday, but that’s still far less than Italy’s number.
Italy’s northern Lombardy region, which is home to Milan, is the country’s coronavirus epicentre. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte put the nation’s 60 million residents on lockdown on March 10. He shut down schools, theatres, and public spaces; restricted domestic movement; imposed a 6 p.m. curfew; and has only permitted grocery stores and pharmacies to remain open.
The quarantine was supposed to end on April 3, but Conte told Corriere della Sera that the lockdown will be prolonged, CNBC said. The new end date is unknown.
“The total blockade will go on,” Conte said. “The measures taken, both the closure of [public] activities and the ones concerning schools, can only be extended.”
Meanwhile, Italy’s healthcare system is collapsing under the strain of an unending stream of patients, insufficient beds, and lack of medical resources. Officials are being forced to use Italian army trucks to transport coffins from the worst-hit northern city of Bergamo to remote cremation sites because local morgues can’t deal with the skyrocketing coronavirus death toll.
The coronavirus has infected more than 230,000 people worldwide and killed at least 9,300 others.
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