Italy’s Civil Protection Department has announced there have been 4,032 people who have succumbed to the effects of the coronavirus after being infected. 37,860 are also reported to be sick from the virus at present. This makes the country the most affected nation outside of China.

Europe has now been deemed by the World Health Organisation as the epicentre of the virus, after its first cases were reported in China.

As a result of the severity of the illness across the country, a lockdown was imposed on March 12.

This ordered all Italians to remain at home, unless travelling for food supplies or to the pharmacy. 

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte described the lockdown measures as necessary to prevent “the collapse of the system”.

However Mr Conte also warned it would not be possible to return to life as before immediately after the lockdown was lifted. 

As part of the restrictive measures, bars, restaurants and shops have closed, with Italians told to stay inside and self-isolate as much as possible. 

China has never reported more than 150 deaths in a single day, whereas until Friday, Italy had never recorded more than 475 deaths daily.

The Civil Protection Agency in Italy has said the total number of cases has risen by 14.6 percent to 47,021 total from 41,035.

The northern region of Lombardy, has, thus far, been the hardest hit by the outbreak of the disease. 

Thousands remain in intensive care as a result of the virus. 

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Hospitals in southern Italy have been told to brace themselves for an influx of coronavirus cases.

It appears that whilst lockdown measures have been implemented across the country, the cases continue to roll in.

A rise has been noted in southern regions of Lazio, Campania and Puglia – where it is believed people fled to after the lockdown of northern Italy in early March. 

Soldiers are now patrolling the streets of Naples and Sicily to ensure people stay inside.

Anyone who breaks quarantine measures could face harsh consequences as a result. 

Doctors have also called for increased testing measures to be implemented, particularly in southern regions of the country, which are often less well-off.

This is a breaking news story. More to follow…

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