The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has jumped in the last 24 hours by 189 to 1,016, a rise of 23 percent, the Civil Protection Agency said on Thursday.
The total number of cases in Italy, the European country hardest hit by the virus, rose to 15,113 from a previous 12,462, an increase of 21.7 percent.
Two weeks after the first 10 towns in northern Italy were declared a “red zone” and put under lockdown, Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said they had no new infections.
This then served as a model to tighten measures across the country.
Movement has been limited to urgent medical or professional need. All shops are now closed, except for pharmacies and those stocking food; companies have been ordered to shut non-essential departments; a wide range of venues – from theatres to schools and hairdressers to museums – are closed.
Italian authorities say it could take two weeks for the impact of the restrictions to be seen on the coronavirus outbreak nationwide, which is still surging in towns and cities outside the initial red zone.
It is placing exceptional strain on Italy’s healthcare system – one of the best in Europe.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a pandemic as Italy tightened its strict quarantine and the US imposed a ban on flights to Europe.
More than 4,600 people have died and over 126,000 infected globally, according to the WHO. About 68,000 victims have recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the virus.