‘The coronavirus death toll in Italy has risen by 133 to 366 as the country imposed a lockdown affecting 16 million people in a desperate bid to combat the spread of the killer bug.
The number of confirmed cases in the country increased by 1,492 to 7,375, with the new figures representing by far the largest daily rise in fatalities since the outbreak came to light last month.
Italy, which is the hardest hit European nation, has the highest number of cases outside China, the epicentre of the deadly disease, overtaking South Korea.
The head of the Civil Protection Agency said today 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.
The quarantine imposed today by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte stops about 16 million people from moving in and out of the entire Lombardy region as well as parts of Emilia Romagna, Marche, Piemonte and Veneto.
The majority of the deaths were in the Lombardy region in northern Italy, the civil protection agency said.
Anyone who flouts the quarantine rules – in which no-one can leave the ‘orange zone’ without a serious reason – could face three months in prison or a fine of up to 206 euros (around £178).
While information about the penalty for breaking the rules was released, confusion still reigned as residents and tourists tried to figure out exactly when and how the new rules were coming into effect.
Travellers rushed to train stations and crammed aboard standing-room-only trains, tucking their faces into scarves and sharing sanitizing gel.
Read more: Italy’s death toll rises by 133 to 366 in one DAY – and number of infected hits 7,375: PM puts 16 MILLION citizens in the north on lockdown and threatens them with a fine or three months JAIL if they leave the quarantine zones