Italy reported new 475 coronavirus deaths on Wednesday, as the European Union, now at the epicenter of the pandemic, sealed off its borders.
The total number of cases in Italy, the European country hardest hit by the virus, rose to 35,713 from 31,506, up 13.35%, the Civil Protection Agency said.
The increase of 19% makes Italy now record more than one-third of the global deaths. Since the restrictions were ramped up on 12 March, the number of deaths has more than tripled.
Of those originally infected, 4,025 had fully recovered compared to 2,941 the day before. Some 2,257 people were in intensive care against a previous 2,060.
At least 2,629 health workers have been infected since the onset of the outbreak in February, representing more than 8% of total cases, according to health experts.
The government has threatened to ban all outdoor exercise, as hospitals in the country are at breaking point. “I make a heartfelt appeal to all the doctors, nurses and medical personnel who have retired in the last two years to help us in this emergency,” Lombardy’s regional Governor Attilio Fontana said.
On Thursday, China reported no new domestic cases for the first time since it started recording them in January.
“The main thing is, do not give up. It will take a few days before we see the benefits” of containment measures, Italian National Institute of Health chief Silvio Brusaferro told reporters, and added: “We must maintain these measures to see their effect, and above all to protect the most vulnerable”.
The virus has now infected more than 200,000 people and killed more than 8,000 globally, with over 83,000 people having recovered from the infection.