The death toll from the outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has leapt by 627 to 4,032 – the largest daily rise since the disease emerged a month ago.
Until today, the country had not recorded more than 475 deaths in a single day. Officials confirmed that record had now been surpassed with the death toll rising by 18.4% on Friday.
More than a quarter of a million cases have been detected in 161 countries and territories around the world.
Among the other worst-affected countries is Iran with 1,433 deaths and 19,644 cases, Spain, with 1,002 deaths and 19,980 cases, France with 372 deaths and 10,995 cases, and the United States with 205 deaths and 14,250 cases.
Wuhan, the city in China where the outbreak began, offered a ray of hope with no new infections reported for a second day in a row and only 39 cases reported nationwide — all of them brought from the outside, the government said.
The effects of a global economy grinding to a halt were also taking a toll, and the UN chief warned of a looming global recession “perhaps of record dimensions”.
In a measure of how the fortunes of East and West have shifted, a Chinese Red Cross official heading an aid delegation to Milan castigated Italians for failing to take their national lockdown seriously.
Sun Shuopeng said he was shocked to see so many people walking around, using public transport and eating out in hotels, adding: “All people should be staying at home in quarantine.”