Italy has recorded 793 new deaths from coronavirus, a one-day record that saw the country's toll rise to 4,825, 38.3 percent of the world's total. Despite extensive measures to prevent the disease from spreading, Italy remains the worst affected country in Europe.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 infections rose by 6,557 to 53,578, reported ITV news on Saturday. The total number of fatalities in the northern Lombardy regions around Milan surpassed 3,000.
Northern Italy has been the hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak. It accounts for nearly two-thirds of Italy's fatalities. Italy has reported 1,420 deaths since Friday, a grim figure that suggests the pandemic may be breaking through the government's various containment and social distancing measures.
The Mediterranean nation of 60 million has been under an effective lockdown since March 12, when public gatherings were banned and most stores shuttered. Police were out in force across the streets of Rome on Saturday, checking documents and fining those outside without a valid reason, such as buying groceries.
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Joggers were asked to run around the block of their houses, parks and beaches were closed, and the government in Rome prepared to extend school and other closures into the summer months.
But the outbreak keeps gathering pace in the new global epicentre of a virus that was first reported in December in China and has since transformed the world, straining health care systems, upending lives for millions and pummelling stock markets globally.
The figures released Saturday showed deaths still largely contained to Italy's richer north, whose world-class healthcare system is creaking under the pressure of coronavirus patients. But it is better that what is available in the poorer south, where some regions have registered a few dozen deaths - and which the government in Rome is watching closely.
The Lazio region that includes Rome has recorded a total of 50 deaths and 1,190 infections. How authorities are battling to keep Italians at home. The rising death toll comes despite widespread efforts to lockdown the entire country.
Italy announced 627 new deaths on Friday, as its number of fatalities went past that of China, where the virus originated.