There are now 366 deaths in Italy and the number of confirmed cases go up by 25% – from 5,883 on Saturday to 7,375.
The death toll from the coronavirus outbreak in Italy has jumped from 233 to 366 – a sharp increase of 57%.
Officials said it was by far the largest daily rise in fatalities since the outbreak hit the country last month.
The total number of confirmed cases in Italy also went up by 25% – from 5,883 on Saturday to 7,375 on Sunday.
The latest figures came as southern Italians, who now live in the wealthy but locked down north, were told to “turn your cars around” and refrain from returning home amid fears of the virus spreading southwards.
The warning to the hundreds of thousands from the southern regions follows the unprecedented lockdown, which was announced by the government overnight and will affect about 16 million people in the Lombardy region, which includes Milan, the country’s financial capital.
Budget airline easyJet is cancelling flights to parts of northern Italy affected by the lockdown.
A spokeswoman said: “Following a decree issued by the Italian authorities implementing further restrictions for anyone living in Lombardy and 14 other central and northern provinces in Italy, easyJet in common with a number of other airlines is reviewing its flying programme to Milan Malpensa, Milan Linate, Venice and Verona airports for the period from now until 3 April 2020.
“In the short term, we will be cancelling a number of flights to and from these destinations on Monday 9 March.”
The UK’s Foreign Office has also issued advice against “all but essential travel” to regions in northern Italy – including Lombardy, Emilia Romagna, Marche, Piemonte and Veneto. The Department of Health is also advising people who have travelled to the UK from lockdown areas in the past 14 days to self-isolate – even if they have no symptoms.
The warning to those attempting to travel from the north to southern Italy follows fears of people trying to return to their family homes to sit out the four-week shutdown, which forbids anyone from leaving or entering new “red zones” except for in exceptional circumstances.
About two million people left underdeveloped parts of the south in the past 15 years in search of work and hundreds of thousands of them now live in the north.
The governor of Puglia – the heel of Italy’s boot – told people to stay where they were in an impassioned plea on Facebook.
“I speak to you as if you were my children, my brothers, my nephews and nieces: stop and go back,” wrote Michele Emiliano.
“Get off at the first train station, do not catch planes… turn your cars around, get off your buses. Do not bring the Lombard, Veneto and Emilia epidemic to Puglia.”
Most of Italy’s confirmed cases of COVID-19were diagnosed in the northern regions of Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna and Veneto. Most of the country’s deaths also come from those same regions.
In the south, Puglia, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania and Molise have seen just dozens of cases between them and a handful of deaths.
In a bid to deter a mass influx from the north, the southern regions issued decrees on Sunday telling people who do arrive from northern red zones that they had to go into self-imposed quarantine for two.
The president of Calabria Jole Santelli said: “The government must block an exodus to Calabria, which risks triggering a disastrous bomb.
“Calabria is not in a position to manage a serious health emergency…. Returning from the north in an uncontrolled manner endangers our land and our loved ones. Don’t do it. Stop.”
The government appears to have given people a day before formally enacting the lockdown, with hundreds of people seen trying to catch trains out of Milan on Sunday, and airports and roads all still open.