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19 Mar, 2020 09:38

Italy to extend nationwide lockdown amid biggest 1-day spike in coronavirus deaths

Italy to extend nationwide lockdown amid biggest 1-day spike in coronavirus deaths

Italy will prolong non-essential travel and business restrictions across the country, as the European nation suffered its largest single-day surge in coronavirus deaths since the start of the outbreak.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Thursday that the lockdown, which began on March 9, would be extended into April. The extreme measures were initially set to end on April 3.

Conte told Italian paper Il Corrier della Sera that while he couldn’t say when the measures would be lifted, it was only “obvious” that they would continue into the foreseeable future.

“The measures we have taken – whether that be shutting down much of the country’s individual and business activities, or our actions regarding schools – can only be extended,” he said.

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His remarks come as Italy suffered 475 deaths in a single day – the largest increase in the country since the outbreak began. The European nation, which has been the hardest-hit by the virus outside of China, has more than 35,000 confirmed cases of the virus, and approximately 3,000 related deaths.

Italian authorities have taken the lockdown measures seriously. Law enforcement has reportedly filed charges against more than 40,000 people for violating the national quarantine. The decree calls for all Italians to impose self-isolation, but allows for people to conduct essential business, as well as going outside for short periods – so long as they stay close to home.

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