Italy's coronavirus death toll rose by nearly 60% in a day as the country put 16 million people on lockdown

italy coronavirus
People at the live broadcasting of Pope Francis' Angelus prayer at Saint Peter's Square on Sunday in the Vatican City.

Antonio Masiello/Getty Images

The death toll in Italy, the center of the novel coronavirus outbreak in Europe, shot up by nearly 60% in one day, to 366 on Sunday from 233 previously, officials announced.

The 133 new deaths came alongside a spike in confirmed infections to 7,375 from 5,883.

The newly identified cases mark the country's status as having the largest number of confirmed infections outside China, where the virus originated late last year. The second-largest center for infections, South Korea, had identified 7,313 cases as of Sunday.

Italy over the weekend escalated its response to the outbreak, announcing the lockdown of the country's Lombardy region and 14 neighboring provinces, making up to 16 million people subject to travel restrictions under new quarantine rules.

Law enforcement was deployed alongside the new restrictions to enforce the quarantine.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte also announced the official closing of public spaces like schools, gyms, museums, nightclubs, and pools.

"We are facing an emergency, a national emergency," Conte said Sunday. "We have to limit the spread of the virus and prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed."

The shuttering of public places was similar to an announcement in neighboring France, where officials announced a ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 people after the number of deaths rose from to 19 from 11 over the weekend amid 1,126 total cases.

The virus has posed concern in countries around the world, with more than 107,000 confirmed infections and at least 3,600 deaths.

Though the vast majority of total cases and deaths remain in China, the country on Sunday identified its lowest number of new infections in a single day since January, indicating the outbreak in the country is slowing.

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