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Death toll in Italy soars by 627 in one day - as UK finally shuts pubs, cafés and schools

 

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A man walks past a closed pub on the day British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered all pubs to close in response to the growing number of coronavirus disease cases in London. Photo: REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

A man walks past a closed pub on the day British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered all pubs to close in response to the growing number of coronavirus disease cases in London. Photo: REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

REUTERS

A man walks past a closed pub on the day British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered all pubs to close in response to the growing number of coronavirus disease cases in London. Photo: REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

The coronavirus death toll in Italy has leapt by 627 to 4,032, an increase of 18.4pc - by far the largest daily rise since the contagion emerged a month ago.

Italy had already overtaken China as the country to register most deaths from the highly contagious respiratory disease.

The total number of cases there rose to 47,021 from 41,035, a rise of 14.6pc, the Civil Protection Agency said.

In its most complete analysis of the outbreak yet published, the national health institute (ISS) said the average age of those who died was 78.5 years, with the youngest victim aged 31 and the oldest 103. The median age was 80.

Some 41pc of all those who died were aged between 80-89, with the 70-79 age group accounting for a further 35pc.

The ISS report, based on a survey of 3,200 of the dead, said men accounted for 70.6pc of the deaths and women 29pc. The median age for the women who died was 82, and 79 for men.

Pathologies

By comparison, the median age of those who tested positive for the illness was 63.

A deeper analysis of 481 of the deceased showed that almost 99pc of them were suffering from one or more medical condition before catching the virus. Some 48.6pc had three or more previous pathologies.

A total 73.8pc had high blood pressure, 34pc had diabetes and 30.1pc had heart disease.

In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson last night announced a UK-wide shut down of pubs, cafés, gyms and restaurants.

Mr Johnson warned it was "becoming clear in order to drive that curve down, to reduce social gathering, we now need to be making absolutely clear that we are going to enforce these closures".

Businesses shut to the public would still be allowed to offer a takeaway or delivery service, he added.

Meanwhile, the scientific advice on which the UK government has based its strategy was released yesterday, giving a grim insight into the expected progression of the virus and calling into question some of the strategies.

Documents studied by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies showed that social measures to keep people apart may need to be in place for most of the year to control the spread.

Millions may already be infected according to worst-case modelling.

The government published the papers a day after Boris Johnson said he expected the tide to be turned in the fight against Covid-19 within 12 weeks. Modelling shows the crisis could last far longer, with the virus potentially returning next winter.

In Northern Ireland, Arlene Foster said the educational work of schools has come to an end due to Covid-19.

They are being "repurposed" to provide online planning and resource packs.

The German states of Bavaria and Saarland said yesterday they were imposing restrictions for two weeks aimed to keep people inside their homes.

"It's not easy to take these decisions," the state premier of Bavaria, Markus Soeder, said. "We take these decisions according to the best of our knowledge and conscience. There will be a Bavaria after corona, but it will be a stronger one if we don't look away."

The western state of Saarland announced similar measures, saying people were only allowed to leave their homes to go to work, do essential shopping, visit the doctor or take exercise alone. The restrictions would be in place until April 3.

Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to meet the leaders of Germany's 16 states tomorrow to review measures required across the country to slow the spread of the virus.

In the US, The White House last night announced that a member of Vice President Mike Pence's staff had tested positive for coronavirus.

Mr Pence's spokeswoman said that the staff member, who is not being identified, did not have "close contact" with either the vice president or President Donald Trump.

Irish Independent