Coronavirus cases in Italy could be 10 times higher than reported

Coronavirus cases in Italy could be 10 times higher than reported

Coronavirus cases in Italy could be 10 times higher than reported

The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy rose by 602 on Monday, the smallest increase for four days, while the number of new cases also slowed, raising hope that the most aggressive phase of the epidemic may be passing.

A health expert has hit out at comparisons between the United Kingdom and Italy's death rates from coronavirus, claiming they are "not useful".

Most other European nations and some U.S. states have followed Italy's example and imposed their own containment and social distancing measures created to stop the spread.

Deaths in Spain on Tuesday surged by 514 in one day, the most since the outbreak, bringing its total toll to 2,696. Despite the overwhelming growing fear of the fatal COVID-19 in Italy people have continued to disregard the precautionary measures proposed by the government.

Big global banks think the business closures have plunged Italy into a deep recession that could be more severe than anything seen in decades.

In related daily news, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said the Italian Medicines Agency approved the testing of the antiviral drug known as Avigan against the COVID-19, local media reported.

Both Italy's and Hubei's populations are around 60 million.

On Monday the government closed all businesses not deemed to be essential to the nation's supply chain of vital requirements, and after the latest figures Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte stiffened fines for people leaving their homes to up to 3,000 euros ($3,225) from a previous maximum of 206 euros. "The only acceptable conditionality is that of using the ESM resources to manage the health and economic emergency", he said, setting up a possible battle with Brussels over how best to emerge from the crisis. Italy, however, is trying to import stocks from overseas but because of the global pandemic countries including India, Romani, Russia and Turkey have halted such sales.

But he did point to a Champions League match between Italy's Atalanta and Spain's Valencia's football clubs in Milan's San Siro stadium on 19 February as a particularly egregious mistake.

"We can now say, with hindsight, that it was potentially a detonator", he said of the match.

Australians must stay at least 1.5 metres away from other people.

If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor, don't visit, or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

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