Italy has just surpassed China for the most number of deaths related to COVID-19.

The total number of cases in the country rose to 41,035 on Thursday, which includes 5,322 new cases, the Italian Civil Protection Agency said at a news conference.

The number of deaths in Italy has reached 3,405. Italy has become the deadliest center of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The current number of deaths in China stands at 3,242, according to the World Health Organization.

Italian Carabinieri policemen wearing a face mask patrol near St. Peter’s Square (Rear) at the border between Italy and the Vatican, on March 19, 2020 in Rome during the lockdown within the new coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)

What’s the latest in Italy?

Italy shut down most businesses and banned public gatherings nationwide on 12 March as it tried to halt the spread of the virus.

Bars, restaurants and most shops have closed, as have schools and universities.

The lockdown has been extended, and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said it had helped prevent “the collapse of the system”.

But he told the Corriere della Sera newspaper that “we will not be able to return immediately to life as it was before” even when the measures were ended.

A report by the Istituto Superiore di Sanita into the deaths in Italy of 2,003 people confirmed to be positive for coronavirus found that three regions, all in the north, were by far the worst hit.

Some studies point to the large number of elderly in the affected regions, and that a large proportion of 18-34s live at home with them. Different demographics in other nations may have helped to keep the death toll lower.

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