NEWS
09/03/2020 8:12 AM IST

Italy's Coronavirus Death Toll Rises By 133 In A Day

Country confirms 57% rise in fatalities as a quarter of the country’s population was placed in mandatory quarantine.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
A man walks in Duomo square in Milan, Italy on Sunday.

Updated: See the latest stories on the coronavirus outbreak.

The number of deaths from coronavirus in Italy has risen by 133 to 366 on Saturday, officials have said.

The 57% increase is by far the largest daily rise in fatalities since the outbreak came to light last month.

The total number of confirmed cases in the country now stands at 7,375 - up by 25% from 5,883 on Saturday, the Civil Protection Agency said.

The update came after more than a quarter of the country’s population was placed in mandatory quarantine as the government attempted to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The head of the agency said that, of those originally infected, 622 had fully recovered, compared to 589 the day before. Some 650 people were in intensive care against a previous 567.

Meanwhile in the UK, more than 270 people have now tested positive for coronavirus in the UK, the Department of Health has said.

As of 9am on Sunday, 273 people had been diagnosed with Covid-19 – an increase of 67 from the 206 cases confirmed at 7am on Saturday.

It represents the largest day-on-day increase in diagnoses.

More than 23,500 people have been tested for the virus in the UK, with two patients with Covid-19 having died.

Two more cases have been confirmed in Scotland, bringing the total there to 18.

On Saturday night, three more people were diagnosed in Northern Ireland pushing its total to seven, while on Sunday morning it was announced confirmed cases in Wales had risen from two to four.

Supermarkets have started placing restrictions on items including pasta, anti-bacterial wipes and hand soap in a bid to prevent shoppers from stockpiling.

Around the world, more and more countries are bracing for a surge in virus cases.

Western countries have been increasingly imitating China – where the virus first emerged late last year, and which has suffered the vast majority of infections – by imposing travel controls and shutting down public events.

Other countries around the world were also limiting activities, with events and festivals called off, and travel restrictions and warnings issued.

A nosedive in tourist traffic and possible disruptions to supply chains sparked fears of a worldwide economic slowdown.

Saudi Arabia banned spectators at any sports competitions, and the NBA, as well as British and Japanese sports teams, are considering doing the same, as baseball and soccer seasons are starting.

Of particular concern are passenger-packed cruise ships, many of which are confronting their own virus problems.

The Grand Princess, where 21 people tested positive for the virus, was heading for the port of Oakland, California, after idling off San Francisco for several days. There is evidence that the ship was the breeding ground for a deadly cluster of almost 20 cases during an earlier voyage.

Also on Saturday, the port of Penang in Malaysia turned away the cruise ship Costa Fortuna because 64 of the 2,000 on board are from Italy. The ship had already been rejected by Thailand, and is now heading to Singapore.

While the global death toll has risen past 3,400, more people have now recovered from the virus than are ill with it.

As of Saturday, nearly 90,000 cases have been reported in Asia; more than 8,000 in Europe; 6,000 in the Middle East; about 450 in North America, Latin America and the Caribbean; and fewer than 50 cases reported so far in Africa.

While many scientists said the world is clearly in the grip of a pandemic – a serious global outbreak – the World Health Organisation isn’t calling it that yet, saying the word might spook the world further.

The virus is still much less widespread than annual flu epidemics, which cause up to five million severe cases around the world and up to 650,000 deaths annually, according to the WHO.

In Iran, fears over the virus and the government’s waning credibility has become a major challenge to leaders already reeling from American sanctions. More than 1,000 infections were confirmed overnight, taking the country’s total to 5,823 cases, including 145 deaths.

South Korea, the hardest-hit country outside China, reported 93 new cases on Sunday morning, taking the total to 7,134, with 50 deaths overall.

China on Sunday morning reported 44 new cases over the past 24 hours, the lowest level since it began publishing nationwide figures on January 20, and 27 new deaths.