A further 651 people have now died after contracting the coronavirus in Italy, lifting the number of fatalities to 5,476. Italy has now banned travel within the country as of Sunday in yet another attempt to slow the spread of Covid-19.
Italian government has stepped up its advice on isolation after issuing an international travel ban.
Officials have also issued an order freezing all business activity deemed non-essential.
This marks yet another effort from the Italian government to keep more people at home and off the streets.
Business activity has been frozen for the car, clothing and furniture industries.
They have until Wednesday to wind down operations and will have to remain shuttered until April 3 according to reports.
The interior and health ministries issued a separate statement, telling people not to travel unless it was for urgent business or health reasons.
Italy has registered more deaths than any other country in the world, overtaking China, where the outbreak is thought to have begun.
China is still reported to have more confirmed cases.
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However, the latest figures represented an improvement on Saturday, as the death toll now appears to be slowing.
On Saturday the death toll rose by 793 and new cases increased by 6,557.
The head of Italy’s top health council Franco Locatelli said: “We don’t want to get over enthusiastic or overestimate a trend, but compared to yesterday there is a slight drop in the figures,
“We must not lower our guard, we must continue with the measures taken and respect the government’s instructions,” he told a news conference.
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Regional leaders having been pushing Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte for days to tighten restrictions after cases of the disease spiraled out of control.
However, some business leaders and financiers expressed alarm at his decision to shutter more companies.
“The closure of production activity is devastating.
“Our companies will lose market share and won’t be able to reopen for lack of liquidity,” Alberto Forchielli, head of Mandarin Capital Partners private equity fund, wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
However, union leaders accused Conte of not going far enough with his closure order, noting that dozens of sectors had won exemptions.
“This is the end of Italy’s industrial system.”
In a video posted late Saturday night on Facebook, Conte said Italy was facing its most serious crisis since World War Two.
The Italian Prime Minister said the health system in the wealthy northen region is at breaking point and almost every intensive care bed now filled.
Countries across the world have rushed to help Italy tackle the virus.
China has already sent medical equipment and doctors to help Italy, while more than 50 Cuban doctors arrived in Milan on Sunday to provide assistance to the stretched hospitals.
An emergency contingent of Cuban doctors and nurses arrived in Italy on
Sunday to help Italy battle the spread of the coronavirus.
The Russian military said it would also start sending aid to Italy on the orders of President Vladimir Putin.
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