Italy reported 793 new coronavirus deaths on Saturday, a daily record that increases the total number of deaths to 4,825 – 38.3 percent of the total worldwide.
The number of COVID-19 infections rose by 6,557 to 53,578, another record.
The total number of deaths in the regions of northern Lombardy around Milan exceeded 3,000. It is responsible for almost two thirds of the deaths in Italy.
Italy has reported 1,420 deaths since Friday, a grim number suggesting the pandemic is breaking through various government policies to contain and distance itself.
The Mediterranean nation of 60 million people has been effectively blocked since March 12th, when public gatherings were banned and most of the shops closed.
The police were in force on the streets of Rome on Saturday, checking documents and punishing outsiders for no good reason, such as buying food.
Joggers were asked to walk around the block of their homes, parks and beaches were closed, and the government in Rome was preparing to extend the school and other closures to the summer months.
But the outbreak is picking up speed in the new global epicenter of a virus that was first reported in China in December and has changed the world since then, burdening healthcare systems, changing the lives of millions, and beating stock markets worldwide.
The numbers released on Saturday showed that deaths in the richer north of Italy, whose first-class health care system is creaking but still not breaking, are still largely contained.
But it is much better than what is available in the poorer south, whose regions have recorded a few dozen deaths each – and which the government in Rome is watching closely.
A total of 50 deaths and 1,190 infections were recorded in the Lazio region, which includes Rome.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)