Italy Covid-19 deaths rises by 919 in highest daily jump since pandemic began
27 March 2020, 19:04
Italy has reported 919 coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, the highest daily tally anywhere in the world since the pandemic began.
The total number of people to have died in the country after contracting Covid-19 now stands at 9,134, which is also the highest number globally.
Italian epidemiologists have warned that the nation's numbers are likely to be much higher - perhaps five times as high - than what is being reported.
The total number of confirmed cases, 86,498, has also surpassed China's tally of 81,897, according to Italy's Civil Protection Agency.
Before the announcement of Friday's death toll, the numbers appeared to have been slowing - at least in northern Italy - following two weeks of a nationwide lockdown.
Staff in overrun northern Italian hospitals welcomed the slight stabilising in the number of infections, however they worry coronavirus is still spreading in the south.
Today's figures will likely further exacerbate those fears.
In Lombardy, the northern region that has been hit hardest by the virus, a sharp rise of 541 more deaths was reported.
Despite the toll, officials have expressed cautious optimism that the exponential spread is starting to slow in the hard-hit north.
"The numbers are still high, but for a few days now the numbers have stopped rising, thank God," said Luca Lorini, head of intensive care at the Pope John XXIII hospital in Bergamo.
Prior to Friday's figure, the largest daily jump in deaths in one country was when 793 people died on 21 March, also in Italy.
Of the confirmed Italian cases, 10,950 people have fully recovered, an increase of almost 600 on Thursday.
In Spain, the second-worst-hit country, the number of coronavirus-related deaths rose by 769 in the past 24 hours. Its death tally now stands at 4,858 and the total number of confirmed cases rose by almost 7,000 to 64,059.
The country with the largest number of confirmed cases is the USA, which on Thursday evening confirmed more than 90,000 infections.
In France, a 16-year-old student became the youngest person in the country to die from the virus.
Her sister said she was admitted to hospital on Monday after developing a "slight cough" last week and later died on Tuesday in a Parisian hospital.
"We must stop believing that this only affects the elderly," said the sister.
"No one is invincible against this mutant virus."