Coronavirus deaths in Italy pass 10,000 with 889 new fatalities

Lorenzo Tondo
Photograph: Diego Puletto/Getty Images

The number of deaths from the coronavirus in Italy has passed 10,000 while the number of total cases is more than 90,000.

On Saturday, Italy announced 889 new deaths from Covid-19, as total fatalities leapt to 10,023. But this was a fall from Friday, when the country recorded its highest daily rise in Covid-19 deaths, with 969 new fatalities.

There are 5,974​ new cases of coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins university, 470 fewer than Friday.

Some 70,065 people across the country are infected with Covid-19. While the total number of contagions in Italy, including the deceased and recovered, is 92,472.

On 31 March, flags will be flown at half-mast in cities across Italy to commemorate the victims of Covid-19.

Related: Reporting on Covid-19 in Italy: 'Life as we've known it has stopped'

Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte warned on Saturday that the European Union could lose its purpose if it failed to come up with a strong response to the coronavirus threat and accused other member states of a timid response to an unprecedented economic shock.

“If Europe does not rise to this unprecedented challenge, the whole European structure loses its raison d’être to the people,” Conte told Saturday’s edition of the Il Sole 24 Ore financial newspaper.

“We are at a critical point in European history,” Conte added, “I represent a country that is suffering a lot and I cannot afford to procrastinate.”

The national government is said to be considering plans to extend a country-wide lockdown to mid-April.

The Higher Health Institute (ISS) said that the peak of the coronavirus epidemic in Italy was approaching.

“We have seen an apparent reduction in the infection curve since March 20 but we are not yet in a downward phase,” ISS President Silvio Brusaferro told the Italian press agency ANSA.