Italy called in the military to enforce the lockdown on Friday as officials announced 627 new deaths in 24 hours, the largest single-day toll in any country since the coronavirus outbreak began.
Desperate scenes have unfolded in the north of the country, particularly the hard-hit Lombardy region where infections first exploded last month, as hospitals struggle to treat thousands of cases, CNN reported.
Chinese medical experts helping Italy deal with the crisis have said restrictions imposed in the Lombardy region are “not strict enough” to contain the spread.
The request to use the military for a lockdown has been accepted by the government said Attilio Fontana, the president of the Lombardy region.
“The request to use the army has been accepted… and 114 soldiers will be on the ground throughout Lombardy… it is still too little, but it is positive,” Fontana said. “Unfortunately we are not seeing a change of trend in the numbers, which are rising.”
The soldiers were deployed in the Lombardy region until now were just ensuring general security in the streets.
More than 4,000 people have now died from the disease in Italy, the country’s civil protection agency said on Friday.
This is more than any other nation, and nearly 6,000 new infections were confirmed in the past day, bringing the total to more than 47,000 cases.