Italy recorded 250 coronavirus deaths in a 24-hour period — the most in the country in a single day — as the number of COVID-19 fatalities there reached 1,266, according to official data released Friday.
The country also recorded more than 2,500 new cases of the virus in that period, bringing the total to more than 17,000.
A nurse in northern Italy said that fighting the virus was like being in the middle of “a world war.”
Hospitals like this one in Brescia are packed as Italy battles the scourge, which earlier this week took the life of Dr. Roberto Stella, 67, the head of a medical association in a region heavily hit by the virus.
Italy has been put under a dramatic total lockdown, as the coronavirus spreads in the country. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that he is extending restrictions already in place in the north.
“All the measure of the red zones are now extended to all of the national territory,” Conte said at a press conference on Monday evening as he also announced a ban on all public events.
The Prime Minister said the move was taken in order to protect the population, and especially the most fragile individuals. His announcement came at the end of a chaotic day that saw prison riots across the country.
Over the weekend, blanket travel restrictions were announced in just certain areas. The rest of the country will now join the northern provinces under lockdown — one of the toughest responses implemented outside of mainland China to get the Covid-19 pandemic under control.
The coordinator for intensive care in the crisis unit for the northern Lombardy region told media that Lombardy’s health care system was “one step from collapse” despite efforts to free up hospital beds.
“We are now being forced to set up intensive care treatment in corridors,” Antonio Pesenti said. “We’ve emptied entire hospital sections to make space for seriously sick people.”
He described seeing “a tsunami of patients,” adding that there could be 18,000 patients in hospital by the end of the month if the virus continues to spread.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said. “Italians should be worried.”
Lombardy President Attilio Fontana said in a statement said the new lockdown measures may not be enough.