The alarming fact about the high Coronavirus-linked mortality rate in Lombardy, is that it has killed more people in Italy than in China over the past week. Health officials are warning that limited resources to treat the severely ill could push the Italian death toll higher still.
Italian health authorities have confirmed that death toll has climbed 36 percent in one day, adding 168 deaths to bring the total to 631, while another 977 cases were confirmed, bringing Italy’s total confirmed cases to more than 10 000.
Italian government officials announced on Tuesday that payments on mortgages will be suspended across the country due to the health emergency, Italy’s deputy economy minister said.
Slovenia announced it would close its borders to Italy, joining Switzerland and Austria. Air France announced Tuesday evening that it would suspend all Italian flights between March 14 and April 3, becoming the latest airline to do so.
Denmark and Serbia joined in by cancelling all inbound flights from countries and regions hard-hit by the virus – including Italy.
In less than three weeks, Italy has gone from having just three cases to the biggest outbreak after China. And the data point to a troubling trend: Those infected in Italy appear more likely to die with the death rate in Lombardy at 8 percent.
CDC Director Robert Redfield told lawmakers in the US House of Representatives that “the US is beyond virus containment in some areas”. Also, Redfield warned that Europe was the “New China” in terms of the virus.
The EU Parliament has announced that it would suspend business indefinitely as local lawmakers around the continent test positive for Covid-19.
UK Health Minister Nadine Dorries meanwhile declared on Tuesday that she has tested positive for Coronavirus. She is the first MP in the country to be diagnosed with COVID-19.
Sky News reported that six people have died in the UK so far and there are currently 382 official cases, up 54 from Monday.
Austria reported 70 new cases of the virus on Tuesday, bringing the national total to 182, with 43 cases in Vienna. In the Czech Republic, Prime Minister Andrej Babis, who had called on Italy to close its borders, said all schools and universities will be closed while gatherings of more than 100 people will be banned.
The Spanish parliament’s lower house suspended all activities on Tuesday after a lawmaker from the Vox Party MP Javier Ortega Smith, was diagnosed with the virus, Spanish daily El Pais reported, citing sources from with Vox.