Italy’s death toll from the novel coronavirus shot past 10,000 with 889 new deaths, the country’s civil protection service said. The toll in Italy, which has suffered more deaths than any other country, now stands at 10,023.
An additional 5,974 infections brought to 92,472 the number of people who have officially tested positive for COVID-19 in Italy since the crisis began last month. Officials have warned that the peak of the crisis was still days away, as the global infection rate surges relentlessly upwards.
With more than 300,000 people infected in Europe alone, the disease shows few signs of slowing, and has already cast the world into a recession, economists say. The death toll from the epidemic sweeping the globe surged past 20,000 in Europe on Saturday.
It came as Italy recorded almost 1,000 deaths from the virus on Friday — the worst one-day toll anywhere since the pandemic began. One coronavirus sufferer, a cardiologist from Rome who has since recovered, recalled his hellish experience at a hospital in the capital.
“The treatment for the oxygen therapy is painful, looking for the radial artery is difficult. Desperate other patients were crying out, ‘enough, enough’,” he told .
In one bright spot, infection rates in Italy continued their recent downward trend. But the head of the national health institute Silvio Brusaferro said the country was not out of the woods yet, predicting “we could peak in the next few days”.
Spain too said its rate of new infections appeared to be slowing — despite also reporting its deadliest day.
Europe has suffered the brunt of the coronavirus crisis in recent weeks, with millions across the continent on lockdown and the streets of Paris, Rome and Madrid eerily empty.
In Britain, the two men leading the country’s fight against the coronavirus — Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Health Secretary Matt Hancock — both announced Friday they had tested positive for COVID-19.
“I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government’s response via video-conference as we fight this virus,” Johnson, who had initially resisted calls for a nationwide lockdown before changing course, wrote on Twitter.