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Italy surpasses China with highest coronavirus deaths



Italy has just surpassed China for the most number of deaths related to coronavirus, making it the world's deadliest center of the outbreak.

The number of deaths in Italy reached 3,405 on Thursday, the Italian Civil Protection Agency said at a news conference -- 156 more than China's toll, which, according to Johns Hopkins University, stands at 3,249.




The total number of cases in Italy rose to 41,035 with 5,322 new cases, officials added. 




The grim figure comes hours after China marked a major milestone in the battle to limit the spread, reporting no new locally transmitted coronavirus cases for the first time since the pandemic began.




As cases ratcheted up, Italy imposed nationwide restrictions similar to those seen in China -- placing more than 60 million people under lockdown.
Italy's world-class health system has been pushed to the brink amid the outbreak, especially in the country's north, which has seen the highest concentration of cases. 

People are being treated in field hospitals and lined up in corridors inside its straining public hospitals. Doctors and nurses are being infected, due to a lack of adequate protection.


Italian authorities are considering lengthening school closures beyond April 3, amid rumors of the lockdown also being extended.




"I think we are going toward an extension," Italian Education minister Lucia Azzolina said Thursday, adding that schools would reopen once there is "certainty of absolute safety."


Corriere della Sera quoted Thursday Italian PM Giuseppe Conte as saying "it is clear" the measures to tackle the outbreak, "both the one that has closed a lot of the country's businesses and individual activities, and the one that concerns the school, can only be extended to the deadline."

The Prime Minister's spokesperson told CNN no official decision had yet been taken. CNN


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