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Italy says peak of coronavirus epidemic yet to come +World updates

Iran Press TV

Friday, 27 March 2020 4:01 PM

The head of Italy's national health institute says the peak of the country's coronavirus epidemic is yet to come despite hefty increases in new infections and deaths in many recent days.

"We haven't reached the peak and we haven't passed it," the chief of the Superior Health Institute Silvio Brusaferro said at a press conference on Friday.

Brusaferro said, however, that the peak might not be far away, citing "signs of a slowdown" in the numbers of new cases in some areas in the country.

"When the descent begins, how steep it is will depend on our behavior," he said, referring to how strictly Italians will continue to abide by the restrictions on movement imposed by the government to curb the spread of the virus.

Over 8,200 people have died of the virus in Italy, the highest figure in the world, and more than 80,500 others remain ill.

Italy's daily infection and deaths have been notoriously high recently. Its fatality figures have been in three digits.

Italy's Education Minister Lucia Azzolina told State broadcaster RAI on Friday that schools across the country would remain closed beyond the current April 3 limit due to persisting risk.

Spain's death toll 'stabilizing'

Spain, the second worst-hit country in Europe, said 769 people died of the virus on Thursday, bringing the total number of the dead to 4,858.

A senior health official said the daily increase in the number of deaths was stabilizing, however.

"Today we have more deaths than registered yesterday, but it is also true that in percentage terms, today's increase is roughly equivalent to that of the past three days, in which we seem to see a clear stabilization," health emergency chief Fernando Simon told a press conference.

The number of confirmed cases in Spain also increased to 64,059, from 56,188 on Thursday.

Switzerland's death toll rises to 197

Meanwhile, the death toll from the new coronavirus in Switzerland increased to 197 from 161, the country's public health agency reported Friday.

The number of people infected with the virus also rose to 12,161, from 10,714 on Thursday.

Russia steps up measures

On Friday, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said measures in place in the capital, Moscow, to curb the spread of the virus had to be extended to the entire country.

Mishustin also ordered the country's huge network of state-run hotels, resorts, and recreational facilities to close starting from Saturday until June 1.

The Kremlin also said on Friday that it was taking more measures to prevent the further spread of the COVID-19 disease in the presidential administration after a staff member tested positive for the virus.

It did not identify the person but stressed that the person had not come into contact with President Vladimir Putin.

The number of infected people in Russia hit a new daily record and reached 1,036 on Friday. The death toll from the virus stands at four.

The coming week has been declared a non-working week in Russia.

Turkish town, villages put on lockdown

Turkey put a town and four villages in its Rize Province on lockdown, in the first instance of quarantine in the country since the first case was reported two weeks ago.

Alaettin Serdar, the mayor of Kandirli Town, said the move was taken after a patient in the town died of the virus on Thursday.

Turkey has recorded 3,629 confirmed cases and 75 deaths.

Malaysia records 130 new cases

Also on Friday, Malaysia recorded 130 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 2,161 infections, the highest total in Southeast Asia.

According to the country's Health Ministry, the death toll from the coronavirus has increased to 26.

Algeria extends curfew to more provinces

In Algeria, a night curfew was imposed on nine more provinces as part of efforts to contain the spread of the virus, the prime minister's office said on Friday.

The government initially imposed a night curfew in the capital and a full lockdown in the neighboring province of Blida, where most of the cases have been reported.

The country has so far registered 367 confirmed cases and 25 deaths.

Hong Kong bans public gatherings of over four people

Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam decided on Friday to ban public gatherings of more than four people, hours after the Asian financial hub saw the biggest daily surge in its coronavirus cases, namely 64.

The two-week ban will take effect starting March 29.

Hong Kong now has 518 cases and has registered four deaths.

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