Italy further tightens lockdown rules, closing all non-essential businesses

Italy further tightens lockdown rules, closing all non-essential businesses

According to Johns Hopkins University, 4,825 people have died of the coronavirus in Italy, as of Saturday.

And health experts from China's Red Cross who are helping hospitals in the hard-hit northern region of Lombardy said much more has to be done.

The death rate is around 5pc, Sierra said, but she suggested the real rate is lower as testing has mostly been conducted on people in hospital, meaning there are far more cases than registered.

Italy recorded 793 deaths on Saturday, and France, Spain and Germany also reported sharp increases in confirmed cases and deaths.

This stress is most likely to worsen as even more health care employees are contaminated as well as have to separate - currently, 2,000 have acquired the infection in Italy.

In the Italian farm town of Fondi, home to a wholesale produce market serving Rome and Naples, a new ordinance banned all but essential people from entering or leaving after 40 elderly residents became infected.

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In a dramatic late-night television address on Saturday, Giuseppe Conte, Italy's prime minister, warned the nation was facing its gravest crisis since the second world war and said all non-essential businesses must close until 3 April.

"Right now we need to stop all economic activity, and we need to stop the mobility of people", he said.

The total number of CCP virus cases in Italy rose to 47,021 from a previous 41,035, said Italy's Civil Protection, as reported by Italian daily Corriere Della Sera.

Italy recorded its highest day-to-day rise in the number of deaths on Friday, at 627, and in Bergamo, the epicentre in Italy, cemeteries were overwhelmed.

The COVID-19 outbreak is continuing to hit the world hard.

Italy is the most affected country in Europe, already overtaking China in the death toll on Thursday. But the Italian government appears intent on making more or less everyone stay in doors as much as possible at any cost.

The ISS report, based on a survey of 3,200 of the dead, said men accounted for 70.6pc of the deaths and women 29.4pc.

The Chinese city of Wuhan - where the global pandemic was first detected and the first city to be locked down - went a fourth consecutive day on Sunday without reporting any new or suspected cases of the virus.

The US Food and Drug Administration also approved the first coronavirus test that can be conducted entirely at the point of care for a patient - and deliver results in 45 minutes.

While the number of cases in China, which reported its first local infection in four days on Sunday, has slumped dramatically since the crisis began, there are fears in Asia of "imported" cases from other hotspots like Europe.

Life in lockdown: Ines Prandini, 85, washes her husband's hands, Gino Verani, 87, at home in San Fiorano in this picture taken by their grandson, schoolteacher Marzio Toniolo, March 15, 2020.

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