New Delhi, March 19, 2020:

Italy has recorded 475 deaths, the highest number in 24 hours due to novel coronavirus or COVID-19 in the country, taking the overall death toll to 2,978 as on Thursday.

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It now has a total of 35,713 cases of confirmed COVID-19 cases, nearing to half of the total cases in China — 81,102.

Italy had earlier imposed a lockdown, restricting movements of the people. Millions of Italians have been restricted to their homes since March 9 when Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte had imposed a national quarantine.

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Amid the rising cases of COVID-19 infections, reports of some violating the lockdown, which had directed citizens to move out of their homes only in case of extreme emergency,  such as for work, health-related reasons or grocery shopping.

Italy Police had stopped and checked 700,000 citizens between March 11 and 17 and 43,000 of Italians were found to have violated the decree, which also ordered the closing of shops, bars, restaurants, gyms and swimming pools.

One of the most serious cases happened in Sicily, when a man who had tested positive for COVID-19 was discovered by police while out shopping, despite the strict order to self-isolate at home. Prosecutors opened an investigation and accused the man of “aiding the epidemic”. In this case, if he was found convicted, the man could face up to twelve years in prison.

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Italy is now poised to overtake China as the world’s worst affected country. Lombardy, which is said to be the worst-hit region, recorded 319 deaths in just one day.

With an economic and social shutdown deepening across Europe, Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, described the coronavirus crisis as “the biggest challenge since the second world war”.

In a rare TV address to the nation, she appealed to citizens to help protect each other by restricting social interactions. According to the head of Germany’s public health agency, the pandemic is likely to take about two years to run its course and the virus will eventually infect 60-70% of the global population.

India has a total number of reported novel coronavirus cases of 169, with 30 fresh cases reported from various parts of the country. The number includes 25 foreign nationals and the three persons who died in Delhi, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

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The Health Ministry further added that more than 5,700, who had come in contact with the positive cases, are under surveillance.

Kolkata recorded its first coronavirus case on Tuesday. An eighteeen-year-old man, who recently returned from England, tested positive for the virus, a health department official said. Medical examinations revealed that the person had contracted the virus, officials said. He has been kept in isolation.

Pune reported another positive case of COVID-19. A woman with a travel history to France and the Netherlands has tested positive, taking the cases of the city to 18 and that of Maharashtra to 42 on Wednesday.
In Leh, a 34-year-old Jawan of the Indian Army in Leh tested positive for COVID-19, making it the first case in the armed forces. According to reports, he contracted it from his father, who had recently returned from Iran.

219,265 people have been infected with the novel coronavirus globally, out of which, 124,552 are currently active or currently infected cases and 6,814  are in critical condition. 8,968 people have died so far according to

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