Italy death toll soars as world reaches terrifying coronavirus milestone

Overnight, Italy has recorded the highest number of coronavirus deaths reported by any nation since the outbreak began.

On Wednesday (local time), Italy, which has been in lockdown since last week reported 475 deaths in just one day, taking the country’s total number of coronavirus deaths to 2,978.

However the total number of COVID-19 deaths could be much higher, as dozens of patients in nursing homes are dying everyday but are not being recorded as coronavirus-related as they are not being tested.

“There are significant numbers of people who have died but whose death hasn’t been attributed to the coronavirus because...they weren’t swabbed,” said Giorgio Gori, mayor of the town of Bergamo, one of the worst hit areas.

The total number of confirmed cases swelled by 4,207, taking the total to 35,713.

The nationwide lockdown saw the government ban all non-essential travel, but allow for solitary daily exercise, according to Reuters, however as the numbers continue to surge in the hardest-hit European country, a complete ban on outdoor activities is a possibility.

Since the restrictions were enforced, police have reportedly stopped more than one million people and booked almost 43,000 for violating rules.

Staff member assigned for Coronavirus tests at the Molinette hospital, during the nationwide lockdown in Italy. Source: Getty

World total surpasses milestone

Around the world more than 200,000 cases of the coronavirus have been identified according to John Hopkins University.

The Johns Hopkins Centre for Systems Science and Engineering's online tally showed 201,436 cumulative cases by late Wednesday (AEST), with 82,032 listed as recovered.

There have been 8,006 deaths recorded worldwide, the countries with the most confirmed cases were China, Italy, Iran, Spain and Germany.

The spread of the virus appears to be slowing dramatically in Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the disease was first detected in late December 2019.

The virus was first detected in Wuhan, pictured, in Central China. Source: Getty

The city has been in lockdown for weeks, in a bid to minimise the spread of the virus, and for the second day straight, just one case was officially confirmed on Wednesday.

China still has the most recorded coronavirus deaths with more than 3,200, but with Italy averaging 350 a day, that number may soon be eclipsed.

Cases in NSW jump again as Australian total nears 600

Chief health officer Kerry Chant said there were 267 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in NSW on Wednesday, which is up from 210.

Dr Chant attributed the rise in cases to the influx of Australians returning from overseas, as citizens around the world heed advice and return home.

On Wednesday, NSW Health confirmed the death of an 86-year-old man, making him the fifth person to have died from COVID-19 in the state, and sixth in Australia.

An advertising board showing a government notice about coronavirus in Sydney, Monday, March 16, 2020. Source: AAP Image.

More than 80,000 people have been tested for the coronavirus in Australia, 99.5 per cent of which have returned negative results.

However, cases are creeping towards 600.

The total of confirmed cases in Australia sits at 567, with Victoria recording the second highest number of cases with 121, and Queensland tallying 94.

with Associated Press, Reuters and AAP

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