The number of coronavirus-related deaths in Italy has exceeded that of China as the Covid-19 outbreak continues,

The army has been drafted into many parts of the country to transport coffins from inundated cemeteries in the Lombardy region. 

The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has also risen in the last 24 hours to more than 3,400. Italy’s caseload of 41,000 is more than half of China’s as well and more than 15% of the global total.

The number of deaths in Italy illustrates that Europe is now the epicentre of the disease.

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Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit, a virologist at Germany’s Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, said Italy’s high death rate could be explained in part by the almost total breakdown of the health system in some areas.

“That’s what happens when the health system collapses,” he said.

On a visit to the northern city of Milan, the head of a Chinese Red Cross delegation helping advise Italy said he was shocked to see so many people walking around, using public transportation and eating out.


Sun Shuopeng said Wuhan saw infections peak only after a month of a strictly enforced lockdown.

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“Right now we need to stop all economic activity and we need to stop the mobility of people,” he said. “All people should be staying at home in quarantine.”

Aside from the elderly and the sick, most people have mild or moderate symptoms, like a fever or cough, and most recover in a matter of weeks.