ITALY tightened national isolation in response to the increasing number of deaths due to coronavirus, by ordering all non-essential shops and services to be closed.

According to Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the closure of most commercial and retail activities including bars, restaurants and beauty salons among those ordered to close. Public services remain and industrial production is permitted to continue, provided that companies adopt safety measures to protect workers and prevent transmission.

“Supermarkets and pharmacies will be the only retailers that remain open in Italy. The latest restrictions were imposed when the number of victims of the virus jumped more than 30 percent on Wednesday to more than 800, the biggest daily increase since the outbreak. Italy limits the movements and activities of citizens until April 3. It was time to “go further,” Giuseppe Conte said.

The prime minister said the world was watching to see how Italy, now the country most severely affected by the virus outside China.

“At the moment the whole world is of course looking at us for the amount of transmission, they see a country that is in trouble, but they also respect us because we show great tightening and resistance,” Conte said in a video uploaded on Facebook.

“I have deep conviction. I want to share it with you. Tomorrow they will not only see us again and admire us, but they will take us as a positive example of a country which, thanks to a sense of community, has won the battle against this pandemic.”

Italy recorded 12,462 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and 827 deaths, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University and Italian Civil Protection agents. The death toll from the virus the day before was 631 people, citing a CNBC report.

According to Conte, Italy will set aside more money to cope with the outbreak, increasing spending to 25 billion euros (US$28.3 billion) up from the 7.5 billion euros announced last week.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the corona outbreak as a pandemic recently. At least 118,381 cases have been confirmed worldwide, according to the latest figures from WHO. At least 4,292 people have died. [antaranews/photo special]