Italy is to close all shops except food stores and pharmacies in Europe’s toughest lockdown yet as virus deaths and cases continue to mount.
The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has jumped in the last 24 hours by 189 to 1,016, a rise of 23 percent, the country’s Civil Protection Agency said on Thursday. The total number of cases in Italy, the European country hardest hit by the virus, rose to 21,000 from a previous 15,113.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a pandemic as Italy tightened its strict quarantine and the United States imposed a ban on flights to Europe.
On Friday, the World Health Organization warned that Europe has now become the “epicentre” for the pandemic, called COVID-19, reporting more daily cases than China did at the height of its outbreak.
The outbreak is putting the Italian healthcare service under immense strain. But will the UK find it self under similar conditions? The death rate among confirmed cases in Italy is higher than in the UK. As of 12 March, the mortality rates among detected cases were 1.4% for the UK and 6.7% for Italy.
Prof. Whitworth believes a higher death rate in Italy could mean that the observed cases contain a larger number of sicker patients. Italy has an older population than the UK, and the effects of Covid-19 infection have been more serious in older people. That puts more pressure on services. The alternative explanation for the higher death rate is that Italy’s is an overwhelmed health service.
Researchers also warn that the Italy virus testing system has become overwhelmed and is not keeping up with new cases. This means Italy’s figures could be falling further behind the total number of actual cases
Meanwhile, the virus has spread to at least 18 countries on the African continent, with Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and Guinea all confirming their first cases on Friday.