The death toll in Italy has reportedly jumped by 133 within the past 24 hours, bringing the new death toll at 366. The total confirmed coronavirus cases surged to 7,375 from 5,883 as of March 9. At least 16 million have been put under lockdown, including Lombardy and several other cities in northern Italy, confirmed reports. Europe has stepped up containment efforts to stem the spread of the disease in Italy.
According to the reports, the Italian army's chief of staff, Salvatore Farina were among the latest people to test positive in Italy. Pope Francis has been reported to be down with an ailment, however, the health authorities have cited him suffering from "cold". Pope on Sunday addressed the city via video from the Vatican saying, “It's a bit strange this Angelus prayer today, with the Pope caged in the library, but I see you and I am close to you”. “Today's unusual delivery was to adhere to the precautionary measures", he further added. Italy has the most deaths outside mainland China due to the novel coronavirus, the Lombardy region hit the worst in Italy's north.
Italy was plunged into the nationwide panic with several Italians migrating to South as the government‘s plan to quarantine the northern region leaked in the public, revealed a report. However, the police and the medics were deployed at Salerno stations in southwestern Italy to quarantine passengers that had jumped in the trains from Lombardy. It was said that those that fled were suspected to be the potential carriers of the pathogen, Roberto Burioni, a professor of microbiology and virology at the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University in Milan confirmed in reports.
The lockdown comes amid a 25 per cent surge in the coronavirus cases, with almost 1,500 suspected cases diagnosed every hour in Italy. Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte signed the decree after an emergency cabinet meeting, as per the media reports. He told the Italian media in a press conference that the government wants to ensure the health of the Italian citizens and would take drastic measures to limit the spread of the COVID-19.