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Italy records biggest daily increase in coronavirus fatalities

Updated: 2020-03-07 11:22
A face mask is attached to a sculpture at the Carlo Alberto square in Turin, Italy, March 5, 2020 after the government decree to close cinemas, schools and urge people to work from home. [Photo/Agencies]

ROME - The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has risen by 49 to 197, the Civil Protection Agency said on Friday, the largest daily increase in fatalities since the contagion was uncovered two weeks ago.

Italy is currently reporting more deaths per day from the virus than any other country in the world and the government this week ordered the closure of schools, universities, cinemas and theaters around the country to try to stem the infections.

The cumulative number of cases in the country, which has been the hardest hit in Europe by the epidemic, totaled 4,636 compared with 3,858 on Thursday.

The Vatican, an independent state that sits in the heart of Rome, registered its first case on Friday.

The national health institute said the average age of those who had died so far was 81, with the vast majority suffering underlying health problems. Just 28 percent were women.

The fatality rate from the illness in Italy, which has one of the oldest populations in the world, is running at 4.25 percent, higher than in most other countries.

In a worrying sign for hard-pressed hospitals, the number of patients in intensive care rose more than 30 percent on Friday to 462. On a more positive note, some 523 people have fully recovered, authorities said, an increase of 26 percent on the previous tally.

Top flight Serie A soccer matches are due to be played this weekend, but behind closed doors.

Reuters

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