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Italy's deaths spike by 969 - its biggest one-day tally yet - to 9,134 as country warns coronavirus has still NOT peaked and lockdown will have to be extended
22:40, 27.03.2020

Italy's coronavirus death toll surged by 969 today in the biggest one-day jump that any country has suffered so far.

The hundreds of new deaths bring Italy's total from 8,165 to 9,134, by far the highest in the world and an increase of 11.9 per cent since yesterday.

In another significant landmark, Italy's total infection count surpassed China's today after rising by 5,959 to bring the total from 80,539 to 86,948.

China has racked up 81,897 cases while the United States has the highest tally in the world with 92,932.
However, the percentage rise in new infections in Italy - 7.4 per cent - was the lowest yet.

The head of Italy's national health institute warned today that 'we haven't reached the peak and we haven't passed it'.

Italy's national lockdown is already in its third week but school closures and a ban on non-essential activities are likely to be extended beyond April 3.

The world also passed another grim milestone today as the global death toll reached 25,000, the majority of them in Europe.

Cases have continued to surge in Italy despite a total shutdown of everyday life which began more than two weeks ago.

The figure of 969 deaths in the last 24 hours compares with 712 deaths on Thursday, 683 on Wednesday, 743 on Tuesday and 602 on Monday.

However, the increase in new infections was only 7.4 per cent, the lowest since the contagion began to spiral in Italy.

The government in Rome has progressively tightened the lockdown rules, banning all non-essential activities until at least next Friday.

Franco Locatelli, who heads the council which advises the government on health matters, told reporters this deadline would need extending.

'If I had to decide using today's data, I believe it is inevitable these measures will be prolonged,' he said before Friday's figures were released.

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