Italy Virus Cases Rise, Fueled by Infections in Lombardy

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Italy reported the most coronavirus infections in the last five days, as the disease spread further in the northern Lombardy region, even after weeks of rigid lockdown rules.

The civil protection agency reported 6,153 new cases on Thursday, compared with 5,210 a day earlier.

Fatalities from the outbreak over the past 24 hours totaled 662, compared with 683 for the previous day, according to figures provided at the agency’s daily news conference on Thursday. Confirmed cases in the country now total 80,539 — approaching the level in China, where the spread has halted.

With its crematorium facilities overwhelmed, Milan — Lombardy’s capital — on Thursday halted cremation rites for victims who aren’t residents of the city, Ansa news agency reported.

The region has started to test more extensively, which helps explain why almost half of today’s new cases are from the Milan area.

After Italy posted a decrease in new cases on Wednesday, World Health Organization director for Europe Hans Kluge warned it was too early to say the disease had peaked there. Europe now accounts for 7 out of 10 reported fatalities, the WHO said.

The European Central Bank said earlier it will scrap limits on bond purchases, giving it almost unlimited firepower to fight the economic fallout caused by the outbreak.

Leaders from the Group of 20 nations on Thursday said they were injecting over $5 trillion into the global economy and committed to do “whatever it takes” to overcome the pandemic.

— With assistance by Sonia Sirletti

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