Italy goes into total lockdown as death toll spikes

Italy has been placed into lockdown after a sudden spike in the number of coronavirus related deaths.

The death toll jumped by 97 in a single day, forcing Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to announce that restrictions on public gatherings would be extended beyond the north to cover the whole country.

All sporting events have also been suspended, while restaurants and cafes have been ordered to close at dusk. Schools and universities will also remain closed as part of the measures. The restrictions will last until April 3.

“Restrictions will include banning all public gatherings and preventing all movement other than for work and emergencies,” Conte said.

“Without underestimating it, we have chosen transparency, we are acting with lucidity, courage and determination.

“We want to contain the spread of the contagion and avoid overloading the hospitals.”

Italy is also looking to bring doctors out of retirement and accelerate graduation dates for medical students to cope with the unfolding crisis.

But in Lombardy, 10 per cent of the regions doctors and nurses cannot work because they tested positive for the coronavirus and are in quarantine.