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Coronavirus: Italy death toll rockets by 793 in a day, with more than 6,500 new cases recorded

Biggest daily rise reported since start of outbreak last month

Peter Stubley
Saturday 21 March 2020 18:23 GMT
Coronavirus: Harrowing footage from Italy hospital showing A+E overrun with coronavirus patients

Italy’s death toll from coronavirus has risen by 793 in 24 hours to 4,825.

The daily increase is the largest since the contagion began and comes two days after the nation overtook China as the worst-hit country for fatalities.

Confirmed cases also surged by 14 per cent from 47,021 to 53,578, according to the civil protection agency.

The northern region of Lombardy is the most badly affected, with 3,095 deaths and 25,515 cases.

Of those originally infected nationwide, 6,072 had fully recovered on Saturday compared to 5,129 the day before. There were 2,857 people in intensive care against a previous 2,655.

Italy was among the first in Europe to deploy widespread travel restrictions to stem the pandemic and continues to impose a nationwide lockdown.

More than 70,000 people have been caught violating the measures introduced to slow the spread of coronavirus since 11 March, with nearly 10,000 people reported by police on Friday alone.

Nearly 2,000 business owners have been suspended for breaching the lockdown.

Italian doctors have urged other countries to impose similar measures after struggling to cope with the increase in patients and a shortage of intensive care beds and respirators.

Footage recorded in Bergamo in the Lombardy region of northern Italy – the epicentre of the epidemic in Europe – shows patients, whose faces are obscured or blurred out, “gasping for air”.

Officials said that on Sunday, a team of 65 Cuban doctors and nurses with experience in battling Ebola outbreaks will arrive in northern Italy to help in the hard-hit Lombardy town of Cremona.

Silvio Brusaferro, the head of the national Superior Health Institute, said that they were working to reduce the time delay between emergence of symptoms and diagnosis, which was currently running at five days.

Additional reporting by agencies

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