Italy reached a grim milestone on Friday, with 627 people dying from the coronavirus in the country, making it not only the deadliest day, but the deadliest day worldwide since the outbreak began. That record was broken the very next day, as Italy reported an additional 793 deaths on Saturday.
According to Johns Hopkins University, 4,825 people have died of the coronavirus in Italy, as of Saturday. More than 60% of Italy’s latest deaths occurred in the northern region of Lombardy, The Associated Press reports.
Italy’s total now surpasses deaths in China, where the outbreak began. China has not reported a new case of the coronavirus in over three days. Italy’s grim surge has made it the new global epicenter of the pandemic.
Italy has ordered all but the most essential of businesses to close until April 3, tightening a lockdown against the coronavirus.
“It is the most difficult crisis in our post-war period,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in a video posted to Facebook. “Only production activities deemed vital for national production will be allowed.”
Conte did not go into detail on the proposals which are expected to come into force via an emergency decree on Sunday.