Italy records world's highest coronavirus daily death rate as figures reach almost 1,000

The nation reported 969 new deaths on Friday

epa08327511 A patient is brought into the pre-triage zone, for all patients, seen during a guided visit to the new Covid-19 ward of the Tor Vergata Hospital in Rome, Italy, 27 March 2020.  EPA/MAURIZIO BRAMBATTI

Italy on Friday recorded the most daily deaths of any country since the start of the coronavirus pandemic as the number reached almost 1,000.

It reported 969 new deaths on Friday.

Italy’s president President Sergio Mattarella said the country is living through “a sad page in our history” with its oldest generation paying a very high price in loss of life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He hailed the thousands of doctors who have volunteered to work in the most hardest-hit areas of the outbreak in Italy’s north and encouraged Italians to keep obeying a national decree that has kept them at home for over two weeks so far, save to go essential jobs or do other vital tasks like shop for food.

He praised the tireless giving of self by medical staff, those assuring the nation’s food supply, factories which have converted production lines to producing masks in dire need by doctors and nurses, and others doing their part.

But Mr Mattarella took to task leaders of some European Union countries who have balked at giving countries like Italy and Spain, reeling under the economic impact of the outbreak, the concrete solidarity promptly required.

Overnight in Spain the death rate hit 769 and France saw 299 daily deaths.

There are now 300,000 cases recorded in Europe with more than 26,000 deaths worldwide, and the United States overtook China as the country with the most infections.