Italy and France have had their highest numbers of deaths from coronavirus in a day, with 475 and 89 more fatalities respectively.
The deaths in Italy – an increase of 19% in the last 24 hours – bring the country’s total to 2,978.
Italy also had a large rise in coronavirus cases, with 4,207 confirmed on Wednesday, bringing the total to 35,713, the Civil Protection Agency said.
The 89 deaths in France took its total to 264, an increase of almost 51%.
Confirmed cases in France rose by 1,404 on Wednesday from the day before – an increase of 18% – bringing the total to 9,134.
Health agency director Jerome Salomon said 931 people were in serious condition, needing life support.
China sent medical supplies to France on Wednesday, returning a favour done by the French weeks ago.
Transport Minister Paola De Micheli on Wednesday told State broadcaster Rai3’s Agorà program that the stringent lockdown measures currently in place in Italy to contain the spread of the coronavirus could be extended beyond April 3.
Asked whether the cabinet is considering to extend the measures, the minister said “I don’t rule that out”.
“We will evaluate based on numbers”, she said, adding that such evaluations will be “made in the coming days”.