In Italy, the number of deaths from coronavirus jumped to 366 from 233 on Saturday, officials said on Sunday. Now, total cases in Italy have reached 7,375, up from 5,883 as the virus continues to spread.
Globally, at the time of writing, there are 107,811 cases of coronavirus and a total of 3,661 deaths.
Of the cases, 60,924 have recovered and 43,226 are currently sick with the virus – officially named COVID-19.
The most cases are in China – 80,699 – where the virus originated, from the city of Wuhan.
The death toll is the highest in China at 3,097, but Italy is in second with 366, followed by Iran with 194 deaths.
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Why is coronavirus so bad in Italy?
In Italy, coronavirus spread undetected at first when one person who was infected returned in an asymptomatic phase – meaning they showed no symptoms but could still spread the virus.
Professor Massimo Galli, who specialises in infectious diseases at the University of Milan told RTE: “Italy should be a warning to everybody, everywhere.
“We have an epidemic because of one person who returned with an infection in an asymptomatic phase and it spread underground in the ‘red zone’.”
The red zone refers to the Lombardy region in the north of Italy which has been hit the hardest by the virus.
Now, a quarter of Italy’s population has been put in quarantine in a bid to stop the virus spreading further.
Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte signed a decree enacting forced quarantine in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The quarantine areas are the region of Lombardy which is home to more than 10 million people, and the financial capital, Milan.
Multiple other provinces are also on lockdown, giving a total of approximately 16 million residents in quarantine.
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Affected provinces include Venice, Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, Rimini, Pesaro and Urbino, Alessandria, Asti, Novara, Verbano Cusio Ossola, Vercelli, Padua, and Treviso
Professor Galli said: ”The fire spread in a large part of our region.
“What happened in Italy could happen everywhere in Europe. Maybe we are particularly unlucky.”
Professor Galli also said he expected the number of people infected with the virus to grow over the next few days.
He said: “The virus circulated for several weeks before people were identified and sick people were found.
“People became infected without significant symptoms. The number of patients will increase in the next days.”
The lockdown legislation gives the authority for fines to be issued to anyone caught entering or leaving Lombardy.
The quarantine is in place until Friday, April 3, and bans all public events, as well as closing gyms, theatres, discos and cinemas.
Some religious ceremonies like weddings and funerals will be banned, and schools are closed across the country.
In a tweet, World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus praised Italy for its “bold, courageous steps”.
Pope Francis expressed solidarity with the virus victims as he live-streamed prayer and message from the Vatican for the first time.
He said: ”I join my brother bishops in encouraging the faithful to live this difficult moment with the strength of faith, the certainty of hope and the fervour of charity.”
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