Coronavirus death toll in Italy rises to 631 in biggest single day jump

More than 10,000 people infected so far in European epicentre of deadly virus

Vincent Wood
Tuesday 10 March 2020 18:24 GMT
Coronavirus cases: The spread outside China

Italy's death toll has risen by 168 people in the space of 24 hours - with 631 people confirmed to have died after contracting the virus so far.

The increase in the nation's death toll marks the highest rate of fatalities so far for the Mediterranean nation which has been the worst affected country in Europe since initial cases were first reported on 31 January.

Officials in Rome added the number of those infected had broken into five figures - with 10,149 testing positive for Covid-19 compared to 9,172 the previous day.

The nation's Civil Protection Agency added that, of those originally infected, 1,004 had fully recovered compared to 724 the day before. Some 877 people were in intensive care against a previous 733.

It comes after the nation introduced some of the most stringent quarantine policies in the world - with the entire country facing travel restrictions and all public gatherings cancelled.

Restaurants and cafes must also close by dusk under government rules, while schools and universities will remain shut until 3 April at the earliest.

"We have adopted a new decision based on an assumption: that there is no time", the nation's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte told citizens in a press conference last night.

Meanwhile a doctor on the front lines of the fight against the virus has warned the epidemic in the country was a "disaster".

Daniele Macchini, who is working in a hospital in the north eastern town of Bergamo said the outbreak was a “tsunami that has overwhelmed us” in a Facebook post.

“While there are still people on social networks who boast of not being afraid by ignoring directions, protesting because their normal routine is ‘temporarily’ put in crisis, an epidemiological disaster is taking place,” he wrote.

“Cases are multiplying, we arrive at a rate of 15-20 hospitalisations per day all for the same reason. The results of the swabs now come one after the other: positive, positive, positive. Suddenly the emergency room is collapsing.”

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