Italy's coronavirus death toll surpasses 10,000

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Rome, Mar. 29 (BNA): Italy's coronavirus health crisis reached grim new heights on Saturday, when the Civil Protection Agency confirmed that more than 10,000 people have died since the start of the pandemic.

The agency reported 889 new deaths, bringing the toll to 10,023, according to Deutsche press agency (dpa).

Italy is battling one of the worst novel coronavirus outbreaks worldwide.

The entire country has been under lockdown since March 10, with even more draconian measures put in place on March 20. The restrictions are set to expire on April 3, but even if the situation improves, few people expect them to be lifted soon.

According to the latest figures, 92,472 people have caught the novel coronavirus so far in Italy, after a one-day increase of almost 6,000 cases.

The number of people who have recovered from the virus, which causes the potentially deadly disease Covid-19, stood at 12,384, an improvement of 1,434 on the previous day.

"Today, we announce the highest number of people who have recovered so far," said Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte at a press conference in Rome on Saturday. He said he would talk with experts at the start of the week and that they were likely to be able to report more good news.

Conte said he had approved 4.3 billion euros ($ 4.8 billion) for municipalities as they combat the epidemic.

He added that schools would remain shut beyond April 3.

Conte said it was too early to make a statement about when non-essential business activities would recommence.

Meanwhile, as bed capacities run out in northern Italy, the area worst-affected, Germany stepped in to help.

Germany's armed forces brought six seriously ill Italians from Bergamo to Cologne on Saturday, a Bundeswehr spokesman told dpa.

"In times of greatest need, it goes without saying that we stand by our friends," said Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.

Hospitals in northern Italy are running out of beds and ventilators for patients suffering from the pneumonia-like disease.

So far, eight German states have made 73 hospital beds available for Italian patients, according to the German Foreign Office

Dozens of French patients are also receiving treatment in Germany.

Earlier Saturday, Italy increased its entry restrictions, and will require anyone entering the country by land, sea or air to state their reasons for travel, their telephone number and address.

Those who come to the county will also have to state how they will reach their final location, the Transport Ministry said in a statement.

Arrivals, whether or not they have symptoms of the virus, will have to register with the local health authorities and go into quarantine for 14 days.

Airlines and shipping companies are now to take travelers' temperatures when they check in for travel, and to not accept anyone whose temperature is above 37.5 degrees.

Many flights to Italy have already been cancelled and some airports have shut down temporarily.