Italy on Tuesday reported 168 deaths from the coronavirus in just 24 hours, the highest single-day toll since the appearance of the deadly disease last December.
The disturbing death toll came on Italy’s first day under a nationwide lockdown with public events cancelled, movement restricted and schools and universities closed. All these were put in place, in a drastic bid to slow the pace of Covid19 in Europe’s worst-hit country.
Authorities say a total of 631 people have died from the disease, the most deaths outside of China where the epidemic began. More than 10,000 have been infected in just over two weeks in the European country.
As the numbers keep rising, many parts of the world are beginning to cut transport links to Italy, just as China.
British Airways cancelled all its Italian flights on Tuesday while low-cost carriers Ryanair and Wizz Air said they would be scrapping flights from Italian airports until early April.
The Spanish government on Tuesday said it was suspending all air traffic from Italy for two weeks while Austria said it would be introducing new restrictions on arrivals from Italy.
Nigeria’s index case confirmed barely two weeks ago was identified as an Italian business traveller, who flew into the country through Lagos international airport.
Coronavirus in Africa
Cases so far in Africa are also rising rapidly as Nigeria and South Africa on Monday announced new cases. Eleven African countries – DR Congo, Algeria, Burkina Faso, South Africa, Senegal, Tunisia, Togo, Egypt, Cameroon, Nigeria, and Morocco have reported nearly 100 coronavirus cases, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday.
Egypt with 59 cases – more than half of all confirmed cases in Africa — remains the worst-hit by the virus on the continent.
An 89-year-old woman who entered Morocco from Italy died on Tuesday, authorities confirmed. Despite being the north African country’s first COVID-19 death, it is the second in Africa after the first death in the continent was recorded in Egypt last week.
Globally, 114,151 cases of infection have been recorded in 105 countries and territories, causing the death of 4,012 people, according to a report compiled by AFP.