Medical workers in overalls stretch a patient under intensive care into the newly built Columbus Covid 2 temporary hospital to fight the new coronavirus infection, on March 16, 2020 at the Gemelli hospital in Rome.

Source: Frank Camp

On Saturday, Italy reported 793 COVID-19 deaths, its highest single-day fatality numbers, breaking a record of 627 single-day deaths set just the day before.

According to data from the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) Global Cases map, over 53,500 people in Italy he been infected with COVID-19 and more than 4,800 have died. Next to China, where the virus originated and infected approximately 81,000 people, Italy has the highest case numbers in the world as of publication.

6,072 Italian patients have recovered from the illness.

On March 8, with cases of COVID-19 spiking, a large portion of Northern Italy in which approximately a quarter of the country’s population lives went under lockdown. The next day, Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that all of Italy would go on lockdown.

“We all must give something up for the good of Italy. We have to do it now,” the prime minister said. “This is why I decided to adopt even more strong and ­severe measures to contain the ­advance … and protect the health of all citizens.”

Italy has become the European epicenter of the illness as cases of COVID-19 have continued their rapid upward trajectory. As a result, the Italian medical system and its health care workers have been stretched beyond capacity in many cases.

According to a report from NPR:

Italy is treating the coronavirus pandemic like a wartime emergency. Health officials are scrambling to set up more beds. In Milan, the old fairgrounds is being turned into an emergency COVID-19 hospital with 500 new beds; across the country, hospitals are setting up inflatable tents outdoors for triage.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Conte announced that the lockdown would need to continue and even be made more stringent. First, Conte spoke about the difficulty faced by Italians each day of the pandemic.

“It is the most difficult crisis that the country has been experiencing since the second post-war period,” Conte said.

The death of many fellow citizens is a pain that is renewed every day, these deaths for us, for the values with which we have grown, for the values that we still share, are not simple numbers, those that we cry are people, are stories of families who lose their dearest affections.

The prime minister then acknowledged how “severe” the lockdown is, noting that there is “no alternative.”

The measures taken so far, I have already said, take time before they can explain their effects, we must continue to respect all the rules with patience, with responsibility, with confidence. They are severe measures, I am aware of it, staying at home, giving up rooted habits, it is not easy at all but we have no alternative, at this moment we have to resist because only in this way will we be able to protect ourselves and protect the people we love.

Regarding the heightened restrictions, Conte said: “Today we have decided to take another step: the decision taken by the government is to close, in the whole national territory, any production activity that is not strictly necessary, crucial, indispensable to guarantee us essential goods and services.”

The prime minister made sure to note that grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, and other essential businesses will remain open. “It is not an easy decision, but it is a decision that allows us, prepares us to face the most acute phase of contagion,” Conte stated.