Covid-19 fatalities approach world-topping 5,500 in new hotspot Italy
Last week, Italy overtook China as the country worst hit by the highly contagious virus.Updated: Mar 23, 2020 12:15 IST
As European leaders scramble to enforce unprecedented restrictions on the movement of their populations in a desperate attempt to prevent their health-care systems being overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic, Italy has emerged as the new hotspot.
Italy’s world-topping death toll from Covid-19 approached 5,500 on Sunday after the Mediterranean country reported another 651 deaths in 24 hours.
The latest daily toll was smaller than Saturday’s record 793 fatalities but still the second-highest registered during Italy’s month-long crisis.
The number of new infections rose by 10.4 per cent to 59,138.
The government banned travel within the country on Sunday in yet another attempt to slow the spread of Sars-CoV-2 virus. “It is the most difficult crisis in our post-war period,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in a video posted on Facebook, adding “only production activities deemed vital for national production will be allowed”.
The hardest-hit region of Lombardy banned any outdoor exercise not on personal property and set distance limits on dog-walking.
Franco Locatelli, president of Italy’s Higher Health Council, said on Sunday that with the new stringent measures, Italy had exhausted all the possible ways it could to limit personal and professional contact.
Last week, Italy overtook China as the country worst hit by the highly contagious virus.
Spain, France and the UK all reported spikes in fatalities and caseloads over the weekend too, with fears mounting that numbers could mushroom in line with Italy’s in the coming weeks.
Spain recorded close to 400 new fatalities on Sunday, bringing the total to 1,720, prompting a dire warning from the Prime Minister. “We must prepare ourselves emotionally and psychologically for very hard days ahead,” Pedro Sanchez said on Saturday.
Sanchez said he would ask Parliament to extend a 15-day state of emergency, which bars people from leaving home unless absolutely essential, until April 11.
Italy and Spain together account for 2,000 fatalities due to the deadly coronavirus disease Covid-19.