Women in face masks are seen in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, after the Italian government imposed a virtual lockdown on the north of the country, in Milan, Italy March 8, 2020. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo
ROME: Italy's death toll from the novel coronavirus soared on Sunday (Mar 8), overtaking South Korea as the country with the highest number of fatalities after China.
The death count in Italy nearly tripled from 133 to 366, and infections rose by a single-day record of 1,492 to hit 7,375.
The outbreak has now killed around 3,800 people and infected more than 109,000 in 99 countries and territories.
A quarter of Italy's population is in lockdown. The measures, in place until Apr 3, bar people from entering or leaving vast areas of the north, according to a decree published online.
Sunday saw Rome forced to close its blockbuster exhibition marking 500 years since the death of Renaissance master Raphael.
The head of the southern Puglia region pleaded with anyone thinking of travelling there from areas in lockdown to "stop and turn around ... Don't bring the epidemic to Puglia".
The lockdown, however, does allow for the return home of those who were in the affected areas but live elsewhere, including tourists.
Football matches also took place behind closed doors - Italian Footballers' Association president Damiano Tommasi tweeted that "stopping football is the most useful thing for our country right now" as "the teams to cheer are playing in our hospitals, in emergency rooms".