ITALY’S coronavirus death toll has soared by 743 in a single day to 6,820 – just as the country hoped it had turned the corner.

The total number of confirmed cases in the virus-ravaged Mediterranean country has risen to 69,176 from a previous figure of 63,927

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 Italy has more coronavirus cases than anywhere else on Earth

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Italy has more coronavirus cases than anywhere else on EarthCredit: EPA

Yesterday, data revealed a drop in the rate of deaths and new infections with the number of deaths in the world’s worst-affected country rising by 602 – the smallest increase for four days.

Italy’s Civil Protection Agency showed 4,789 new cases on Monday, nearly 700 fewer than the day-to-day increase of 5,560 new cases reported from a day earlier.

The number of deaths followed a similar trend with 602 virus-related deaths registered on Monday compared to 651 on Sunday and 793 on Saturday.

It was hoped the day-to-day figures for new cases and deaths go down is a sign for some that the national lockdown is working.

 Healthcare workers check samples for further testing in Bologna, Italy

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Healthcare workers check samples for further testing in Bologna, ItalyCredit: Rex Features

Since February, Italy had been following an exponential growth curve with cases and deaths roughly doubling every three days.

Italy has seen more fatalities than any other country on the planet.

However, testing for the disease has often been limited to people seeking hospital care, meaning that thousands of infections have certainly gone undetected.

“A ratio of one certified case out of every 10 is credible,” Borrelli, the head of the Civil Protection Agency, told La Repubblica newspaper.

After four weeks of steep increases in deaths and cases, the growth rate has eased since Sunday, raising hopes that the most aggressive phase of the contagion might be over.

 A medic treats a patient suffering with coronavirus in an intensive care unit in Rome

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A medic treats a patient suffering with coronavirus in an intensive care unit in RomeCredit: AFP or licensorsItaly sees jump in coronavirus cases to 6,820 as 743 new victims are added to death toll despite recent decline 1

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Credit: AFP or licensors

“The official numbers of the last two days indicate a slowdown in the epidemic,” said Giorgio Gori, the mayor of Bergamo, a hard-hit city in Lombardy which has suffered the heaviest death toll in the country.

“The official numbers of the last two days indicate a slowdown in the epidemic,” said Giorgio Gori, the mayor of Bergamo, a hard-hit city in Lombardy which has suffered the heaviest death toll in the country.

“I am being cautious because I do not want to delude myself, but at the same time I have a lot of hope that two whole weeks of lockdown plus increasingly restrictive measures are producing results,” he said.

Italy sees jump in coronavirus cases to 6,820 as 743 new victims are added to death toll despite recent decline 2

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The government has shut down all non-essential business until April 3 and the cabinet ids due to meet tonight to tighten the screws still further.

Ministers want to hike fines for people violating the shutdown to up to £3,600 from the  maximum of £180 at present.

A new directive under review, seen by Reuters, would also give the government the option to extend parts of the lockdown to the end of July.

HOW ARE LOCKDOWNS BEING ENFORCED IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES?

Italy sees jump in coronavirus cases to 6,820 as 743 new victims are added to death toll despite recent decline 8

Countries around the world are now enforcing lockdowns and nationwide quarantines, but the punishments for flouting them vary from place-to-place

In Spain, residents face fines starting from £90 or even imprisonment if they disobey authorities.

A total of 350 arrests have been made and 31,000 fines handed out to people flouting the restrictions.

One couple caught having sex in a car told police they shared a flat with too many people to get intimate under lockdown, while another four people were fined after being caught taking it in turns to take the same dog for a walk.

The government has also said that any company that can help in the extra production of diagnosis material and protective equipment like masks, glasses, or gloves must contact them or face a fine.

Authorities in China, the first country in the world to report cases, earlier deployed a fleet of drones through which they could talk to people and encourage them to go home.

They also set up checkpoints on the streets and at the entrance of residence buildings where people had to get their temperature checked before passing.

In Italy, Europe’s worst-hit country, authorities so far charged over 40,000 people with ignoring the lockdown.

The face fines of £190 and three-month prison terms.

In France, anyone caught outside without justification is being given a fine equivalent to £128, while repeat offenders face detention and ultimately imprisonment.

President Emmanuel Macron this week expressed concern that people were not understanding the severity of the crisis.

In Australia, fines as high as £25,000 could be handed out to people failing to isolate themselves appropriately.

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