Italy on Thursday reported 662 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of fatalities to 8,165, still the highest in the world.
According to the latest figures provided by the Italian Civil Protection Department the total number of cases in the country continues to grow, while the daily death rate was a bit lower than Wednesday.
Confirmed contagions rose by 8% from Wednesday to reach 62,013. The total number of recovered or healed people reached 10,361.
The epicenter of the Italian outbreak remains the northern Lombardy region, which counts 4,861 victims alone.
Lombardy’s Governor Attilio Fontana said on Thursday that he was concerned by the fact that contagion cases in the region keep growing.
“I’m worried, maybe we are missing something,” he said.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte addressed the Senate on Thursday morning amid surging criticism over the government’s measures to contain the spread of virus.
Conte said that Europe faces the risk of a “hard and severe recession” in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic and new extraordinary measures are needed to avoid that.
He promised that a new economic package will be approved in April, worth more than €25 billion ($27.5 billion), following the one already adopted in March for the same amount.
The Italian premier also called for European Union “recovery bonds” to shield the European economies hit by the virus spread.
“Europe would be able to face the shock only with extraordinary and exceptional measures,” he said, ahead of a EU summit that will discuss emergency measures to support the counties hit by the pandemic.
After first appearing in Wuhan, China, in December, the virus has spread to at least 175 countries and regions, according to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
The data shows more than 495,600 cases have been reported worldwide, with the death toll above 22,000 and nearly 120,000 recoveries.
Despite the rising number of cases, most who contract the virus suffer only mild symptoms before making a recovery.