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The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy rose in the last 24 hours by 427 to 3,405 , overtaking the total number of deaths so far registered in China , officials said on Thursday.
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Some 3,245 people have died in China since the virus first emerged there late last year. Italy’s outbreak came to light in the north of the country on February 21 .
Officials and experts believe the total number of infections here is significantly higher, with testing largely limited to those arriving for hospital care. The country’s large, elderly population , who are particularly vulnerable to the virus, is also seen as factor for the high number of fatalities.
Underscoring the scale of the drama, soldiers transported bodies overnight from the northern town of Bergamo , northeast of Milan , whose cemetery has been overwhelmed.
An army spokesman said 15 trucks and 50 soldiers had been deployed to move coffins to neighboring provinces. Earlier local authorities had appealed for help with cremations as their own crematorium could not cope with the huge workload.
went into virtual lockdown before other countries in Europe but, with cases still rising, the government is considering even tougher measures that would further restrict the limited amount of outdoor movement currently permitted.
Police across Italy have stopped more than 1.2 million people over the past week and booked some 51,000 for violating the rules, the interior ministry said on Thursday.
The contagion is also badly damaging Italy’s economy , which had already been on the brink of recession before the virus struck last month and the government imposed a nationwide clampdown, causing many businesses to grind to a halt.
The Treasury has announced a €25 billion ( USD$ 26.84 billion ) package of measures to support companies and workers and sources said it was considering extending guarantees on bank loans to help firms hit by a collapse in orders.
The central Chinese city of Wuhan , the epicenter of the country’s coronavirus outbreak , reported no new infections for the first time, while imported cases surged by a record, led by new infections in the capital of Beijing .
The new imported infections also accounted for all of the new confirmed cases in mainland China , placing more pressure on authorities to screen travelers at key travel hubs.
had 34 new confirmed cases on Wednesday, the country’s National Health Commission said, more than doubling from 13 cases a day earlier.
Of the 34 imported infections, Beijing accounted for 21 cases, a daily record for the city.